Bob Beck

News Director

Phone: 307-766-6626
Email: btwo@uwyo.edu 

Bob Beck has been News Director of Wyoming Public Radio since 1988.  During his time as News Director WPR has won 94 national, regional and state news awards.  Bob has received the WEA School Bell Award for education reporting and was honored by the Governor’s Council on Impaired Driving for his reporting.  He was also the voice of an Emmy award winning documentary on memory.  He has covered the Wyoming Legislature longer than any broadcaster in the state and is a frequent political guest and host on Wyoming PBS.   

Bob also taught broadcast news at the University of Wyoming for 20 years and his 1998 television reporting class won a regional Emmy for reporting excellence.  He also was twice given a Top Prof award by the UW Mortar Board.   Bob is also active in community events and co-chaired the 2009 Albany County United Way Campaign with his wife Debra. 

Prior to coming to WPR, Bob worked as a News and Sportscaster at stations in Wyoming and Illinois.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio-Television from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and is a native of Wheaton, Illinois in suburban Chicago.  When he is not working he is running, mountain biking, doing CrossFit, walking his dog, or cheering on his beloved Packers, Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs and Salukis.

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Gas tax
5:17 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Senate approves gas tax hike

The Wyoming Senate has given initial approval to a bill that would increase the gas tax by $.10 per-gallon. 

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Federal Cuts
6:23 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Lummis tells the Legislature that cuts are on the way

Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis told the state legislature that federal budget cuts of $1.6 trillion are coming.

“I am pleased to say that for the first time since I’ve been in Congress, truly significant cuts are coming.  The sequester will take effect on March 1st, it will cut roughly 10 percent across the board on all discretionary spending.”

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Tips
6:18 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Tips bill moves ahead in the Senate

The State Senate has started work on a bill that would allow employers to ask servers to contribute 15 percent of their tips to be redistributed to other service employees of an establishment. 

The goal is to improve service from top to bottom and raise wages for all employees. 

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Workplace Safety
6:16 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Senate debates latest workplace safety measure

A bill that would give Wyoming employers a ten-percent discount on their workers’ compensation payments in exchange for implementing workplace safety initiatives has received initial approval from the State Senate. 

Employers would have to sign up for OSHA’s health and safety consultation program. 

Senator Eli Bebout of Riverton says the program should be a big help for smaller employers.

          

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Life Resource Center
6:14 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Senate considers ways to save the Life Resource Center

The State Senate had a lengthy discussion over a bill that will study future options for the Lander-based Wyoming Life Resource Center.  The facility is used for adults with disabilities and some believe it should be shut down and clients should be sent to other facilities. 

But Senator Cale Case of Lander says the facility is important for people who need specialized care. 

While the House version of the bill was to study how clients would be moved out of the facility, Case says the Senate version will look at ways to upgrade the facility and improve services.

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News
6:37 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

WY House and Senate pass state budget

The Wyoming House and Senate passed their respective versions of a state budget.  Both bodies feature budget cuts of roughly 6% in an effort to deal with declining revenues.  Cheyenne Representative Mary Throne says she is generally satisfied with the budget cuts.

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News
6:17 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Law allowing a secret search for UW President enacted

Governor Matt Mead has let a bill that would change Wyoming’s Open Records law go into effect without his signature.  The Governor expressed concern over the legislation that would allow University of Wyoming Trustees to continue their search for a new President in private.  Mead says he is concerned about expanding the exemption of the Open Records law.  A Judge recently ruled that the finalists for President needed to be made public.   But Senate President Tony Ross defended the bill’s enactment.

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News
12:12 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Senate Committee defeats guns in schools bill

The Senate Education committee killed a bill that would have allowed those with concealed weapons permits to carry guns in schools and on Wyoming College campuses.  The bill died after nobody made a motion to consider it.  A number of educators at all levels testified that the legislation was a bad idea and that such ideas should be left to local school districts to consider.  University of Wyoming President Tom Buchanan testified that the allowing guns on campus could lead to problems.

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News
5:14 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Senate begins debate on the interstate sales of health insurance

The State Senate has given initial approval to a bill that will allow out-of-state health insurance companies to offer policies in Wyoming.  The goal of the legislation is to encourage competition and possibly lower health insurance costs.

Wyoming consumers have limited health insurance choices and supporters hope the bill will fix this. However,  Senator Bill Landen of Casper says he is worried that the legislation could harm Wyoming insurers, by bringing in unwanted competition. 

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ExxonMobil
4:53 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

UW gets another donation for the School of Energy Resources

ExxonMobil announced today that it is contributing two-point-five million dollars to the University of Wyoming to support science and technology programs. 

After receiving a state match, the contribution will be increased to $5 million. 

ExxonMobil says that the money will provide laboratory equipment for the Improved Recovery program within the Center for Advanced Oil and Gas technologies. 

Company Vice President Randy Broiles says such investments make sense.             

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News
6:21 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Funding for UW College of Engineering building debated

An attempt to remove funding from the University of Wyoming’s College of Engineering failed in the state House of Representatives. 

Jackson Representative Keith Gingery fought to remove $55 million that will be spent to upgrade the UW College of Engineering, because the state has other needs.     

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News
6:14 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Lawmakers debate teacher pay

During discussion on the state budget, legislators held a lengthy debate on whether teachers should be eligible for a one-time bonus intended for all state employees.  The bonus is one percent of an employee’s salary. 

In the Senate, discussion centered around the fact that some teachers could get raises through school district base salary increases, while other state employees have not received raises for up to four years.   Senator Chris Rothfuss pointed out that lawmakers have also denied teachers state pay raises in the last few years. He says that could backfire.

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News
5:57 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Lawmakers want to look into possible spending irregularities at the Department of Education

Credit Wyoming Department of Education

After hearing from whistleblowers and attorneys that there may have been irregularities in spending within the State Department of Education, the Wyoming House of Representatives has set aside money to perform a whistleblower audit of the department. 

Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau says Superintendent Cindy Hill has denied that money was spent improperly, but he says the legislature is obligated to determine if there is any truth to the charges and the House will ask for a complete audit.       

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News
1:03 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Transition to new Education Director is underway

Governor Matt Mead says he has met with employees at the State Department of Education and members of the State Board of Education to make sure there will be a smooth transition as they hire a Wyoming Education Director. 

The Legislature stripped many of State Superintendent Cindy Hill’s powers, and she has been relocated to an office a block away from the Department of Education.

Mead said the State Board of Education will submit three names for the governor to consider for Director. He adds that it will be an open search.

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News
12:59 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Governor Mead expresses concerns about gun bills

While Wyoming Governor Matt Mead favors gun rights, he said that he is very concerned about a couple of gun rights bills making their way through the legislature. 

One bill would allow school employees, parents of a student or their guardian, who hold a concealed weapon permit, to have guns in schools.  Mead said that there are better ways to ensure school safety and he wants the state to look closer at those solutions.

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Game and Fish Funding
6:16 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Game and Fish license fee increase is defeated

The Wyoming House soundly defeated a bill that would have raised many hunting license fees. 

The Wyoming Department of Game and Fish said that the increases were needed to pay for budget shortfalls.  Laramie Democrat Cathy Connolly said the Game and Fish Department has been asked to take over management of a number of non-game and endangered species and that has driven up costs. 

But Jackson Republican Keith Gingery said that in 2005 the Department promised to study the issue and see if there was a solution.  Gingery said that never happened.

          

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Roads
6:14 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Senate votes down an effort to divert money for roads

Sheridan Sen. Bruce Burns

The State Senate has defeated a bill that would take money from the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund to maintain and construct roads.

It would divert over 57 million dollars in fiscal year 2014 that would have flowed into the PMTF.  When combined with a ten cent increase in the gas tax, it would raise nearly 72-million dollars.  Senator Stan Cooper says it would help the state catch up with its road maintenance needs and provide more substantial funding.
 

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News
2:56 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Wyoming legislature begins budget work

State lawmakers have started reviewing the proposed supplemental state budget.  The budget features an average of six and a half percent cuts and limits new spending.

House Appropriations Chairman Steve Harshman says the legislature will have some money that can be added to the budget if needed.             

“So after accounting for other bills with appropriations in them, today there is 13 million dollars on the table for saving or spending.  And the smallest supplemental budget in a decade…in ten years…in terms of expenditures.”

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Lottery
12:21 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

House passes bill to allow Wyoming to join a multi-state lottery

Wyoming House passes bill to create state lottery

Despite concerns that a lottery would be a regressive tax, the State House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow Wyoming to join a multi-state Powerball Lottery. 

It establishes a quasi-corporation that would be tasked with making the lottery profitable.  Several lawmakers near border states say that Wyoming is losing money as residents cross state lines to buy lottery tickets. 

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News
5:56 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Slew of gun bills pass in the WY House

The Wyoming House of Representatives has passed a series of gun rights bills. The House amended one bill that will allow guns in schools, allowing not only full-time school personnel to carry concealed firearms but parents and guardians, well. Everyone must have a concealed carry permit. Evansville Rep. Kendall Kroeker says it's a good day.

"One this that we've seen that has been the case with 100% of the shooting that have taken place on school campuses is that every single one of them was in a gun free zone," said Kroeker.

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News
5:31 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Senate passes seismic exploration bill

The Wyoming Senate defeated a bill dealing with seismic exploration, reconsidered it, and then passed it. 

Supporters say that the goal of the legislation is to set tiered bonding for seismic exploration. 

Wyoming Stockgrowers Association Executive Vice President Jim Magagna says the bonding will be based on the size of the acreage being accessed.   He says that the bill was amended to say that when seismic

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News
5:55 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

WY Senate defeats bill prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation

Credit Wyoming State Capitol

The State Senate defeated a bill that would have prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  It would have given gays and lesbians protections in the workplace.  Opponents said it could have led to unfair burdens on employers and infringe on religious freedoms.  Senator Chris Rothfuss says he’s sorry that the bill would be inconvenient for certain employers, but he added that was the point.  But Baggs Senator Larry Hicks says the legislation would do little.                    

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News
5:22 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

WY House works on language for bill about concealed gun carry in schools

The Wyoming House of Representatives continues working on a bill that would allow concealed weapons in Wyoming schools and colleges.  It would only apply to people who have permits to carry concealed guns.  Casper Representative Steve Harshman successfully amended the bill to say that only permanent employees of a school district who hold a concealed carry permit may carry a concealed firearm within a school district building and they must notify administrators.  The amendment also made it clear that K-12 students shall not carry concealed firearms.  The district superintendent will also in

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News
5:13 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

WY House passes bill to keep UW President search secret

The Wyoming House of Representatives has given final approval to a bill that would let the University of Wyoming and Community Colleges keep their candidates for president secret.  House Majority Floor Leader Kermit Brown says that releasing names of finalists will compromise candidates who have jobs on other campuses.

“You’ve got people in similar positions where they are and they want to make discreet applications, but they don’t want to totally wreck their situation back home if they are not selected.  And that’s where the rub comes,” says Brown.

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News
5:01 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Medicaid expansion defeated in the WY Senate

The State Senate has soundly defeated a bill that would have led to the state expanding Medicaid Services for nearly 30 thousand more Wyoming residents.  States can opt to expand the services under the Affordable Care Act and the federal government will pay the total cost for the first 36 months of the expansion starting in 2014.  Senator John Schiffer of Kaycee says Medicaid costs have hurt the state, but if the state expands, it means the federal government will pay for services that Wyoming currently pays for.  He says that is a good deal.

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News
6:47 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Wyoming House votes to approve a series of gun bills.

Credit Bob Beck


The Wyoming House of Representatives has given initial approval to four bills that would address gun rights in the state. Among the bills is a measure that would attempt to block a federal gun bill banning  semi-automatic weapons and limiting the size of gun magazines.  Sponsor Kendall Kroeker of Evansville says this would apply to guns in Wyoming.

“Because of that I believe there is no federal authority in the Constitution to give the federal government the ability to ban such weapons or place restrictions upon them.”

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News
6:26 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

WY House defeats bill to establish domestic partnerships

The WY House of Representatives during the vote on the defeated domestic partnership bill.
Credit Bob Beck

After a passionate debate, the Wyoming House of Representatives defeated a bill that would have allowed adults to enter into a domestic partnership.  Supporters of the measure say that the legal agreement would have given all non-married couples a legal contract that would provide them with a range of legal tools to use in health care situations and in cases of a partner's death.  But others strongly opposed the measure.  Thermopolis Republican Nathan Winters says it’s clear what the bill is trying to do.

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News
2:25 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

House approves Hathaway changes

The Wyoming House of Representatives voted to approve a bill that adds two years of Fine and Performing Arts or Career-Vocational education to the requirements of those seeking the Hathaway scholarship.

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University of Wyoming
6:25 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Wyoming House supports allowing university, college president searches to remain confidential

The Wyoming House of Representatives has given initial approval to a bill that would allow the University of Wyoming and community colleges in the state to keep presidential searches secret. 

Media groups have sued to require UW to make its presidential finalists public as UW tries to find a replacement for the retiring President Tom Buchanan. 

Supporters including Cheyenne Democrat Jim Byrd say that it gives the University the best chance to get a quality president because competitive candidates would not be compromising their current positions.

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Guns
6:15 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

House Judiciary Committee supports gun rights bills

Some Wyoming legislators are working to thwart anticipated federal efforts to ban semi-automatic weapons or limit the size of gun magazines with the state’s boundaries.  They also support allowing concealed firearms in government buildings and schools.

The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill that prevents such laws, and also says that anyone trying to enforce a federal gun ban in Wyoming could face felony charges. 

Wyoming Gun Owners Association Director Anthony Bouchard told the committee that the time is right for such legislation.

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