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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News
6:13 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

WY Senate approves Medicaid fraud bill

The State Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would allow the State of Wyoming to investigate those suspected of Medicaid fraud.  Currently, the state can only launch such an investigation with federal approval.  Senator Ray Peterson of Cowley says that the state believes it could recover millions in fraud if the legislation is approved. 

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News
5:56 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

WY House gives initial approval to bill that would remove power from Superintendent Hill

The Wyoming House of Representatives has given initial approval to a bill that would remove key powers from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and give them to an appointed Education Director. 

The House debated the bill for almost two hours. Many representatives expressed concern that the legislature was taking power away from the voters and others were concerned about how quickly the legislature is moving to pass the bill. Lyman Republican Allen Jaggi says he’s heard from constituents who share those concerns.

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News
12:04 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Medicaid expansion in WY gets a 'do not pass' recommendation from Sen. Health & Labor Committee

The Senate Health and Labor Committee has voted down a measure that would expand Medicaid services in the state.  The program would allow more low income people to qualify for health insurance coverage. 

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News
12:04 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Medicaid expansion in WY gets a 'do not pass' recommendation from Sen. Health & Labor Committee

The Senate Health and Labor Committee has voted down a measure that would expand Medicaid services in the state.  The program would allow more low income people to qualify for health insurance coverage. 

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Medicaid
5:33 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Health organizations support Medicaid expansion

A number of Wyoming health care organizations held a news conference in Cheyenne urging state lawmakers to pass a bill that would expand Medicaid services to more state residents.

Wyoming Hospital Association Director Dan Perdue says the bill will improve health care for more citizens.  He says it will also save the state money.

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Medicaid
5:05 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Wyoming Senate takes on Medicaid overhaul

The State Senate has begun overhauling the Wyoming Medicaid program. 

The bill attempts to slow down rising costs of the program through a variety of reforms that would both cap payments and try to put less critical clients into lower cost programs. 

Senate Labor and Health Committee Chairman Charles Scott says savings could range between $30 million and $113 million, depending on which reforms the federal government allows the state to go forward with.

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Education
5:01 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Wyoming Senate kills two education bills, approves energy curriculum

Credit Creative Commons / www.wildretina.com

The Wyoming Senate defeated two education bills and passed one during final debate on all three measures. 

The Senate defeated one bill that would require parental permission for someone under the age of 18 to drop out of school.  The Senate also killed a bill that would have required students to take four years of math in order to graduate.  Both bills were sponsored by Democrat Chris Rothfuss of Laramie. 

The Senate did approve a bill that puts in place a new energy and natural resources curriculum for schools. 

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News
5:35 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Legislative panel says no to cell phone ban, approves legalizing hitchhiking

The Senate Transportation Committee has voted down a bill that would ban cell phone use on Wyoming highways, while approving a measure that would legalize hitchhiking.

Senator Floyd Esquibel of Cheyenne wanted to eliminate most cell phone use for safety reasons, but the committee voted the bill down with little discussion by a three to two vote. 

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Medicaid
5:29 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Senate debates legislation that would allow prosecution in Medicaid fraud cases

Wyoming Senate discusses Medicaid fraud.
Credit Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Wyoming is one of eight states that does not have the ability to pursue false claims in Medicaid cases.  A bill being debated in the state Senate would change that. 

Senator Ray Peterson says conservative estimates suggest that Wyoming is likely losing 15 million dollars a year to overbilling in Medicaid cases.  His bill would allow the state to investigate and prosecute Medicaid fraud.

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Health Care
4:08 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Wyoming House votes to open health insurance market to out-of-state companies

The Wyoming House of Representatives has passed a bill that would open up Wyoming’s health insurance market to out-of-state companies. 

The goal of the legislation is to provide more insurance options to consumers.  But Evansville Republican Kendall Kroeker says the bill would do anything but.

“So all it does is protect the couple of insurance companies that are here and limits competition by not allowing anybody to offer anything different than is being offered,” Kroeker says.

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News
5:32 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

WY Senate to continue debate over energy & natural resource curriculum

The State Senate has given initial approval to a plan to develop an energy and natural resource curriculum for Wyoming schools.  The program will be based on a current agriculture curriculum that helps students learn more about that industry.   Glenrock Senator Jim Anderson, a retired school teacher, says the curriculum will help students learn more about the biggest industry in the state.  But some Senators are uncomfortable with the state dictating an industry curriculum for schools.  Anderson pointed out that districts only have to adopt the program if they want to.

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News
4:54 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

UW's School of Energy Resources receives large gift from Hess Corp.

The University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources is getting $4.4 million from the Hess Corporation to help fund a program that will investigate the flow of oil and gas through tight shale and sandstone.  It’s part of a UW effort to research unconventional oil and gas reservoirs through the Center for Advanced Oil and Gas technologies.   The Hess donation will specifically go towards the Nano Resolution Imaging Laboratory.  State matching funds make it a gift of nearly $9 million.  Governor Matt Mead says the gifts will lead to creative ways to improve energy development in Wyoming.

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Gas tax
3:32 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

WY House votes to raise the gas tax

The Wyoming House of Representatives has voted to increase the state gas tax by ten cents per gallon. 

Supporters say the money is needed to pay the costs of road maintenance, but opponents say citizens cannot afford the tax. 

Rock Springs Republican Stephen Watt urged the use of state reserve funds to pay for roads instead.

“At some point in time we need to say that today is rainy and we need to spend some of our rainy day money,” Watt says. “Let’s not add more of a burden on our constituents with this tax.”

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News
10:28 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Lawmakers seek to strip power from schools superintendent

The Wyoming legislature wraps up its second week today.  Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck is covering the session and joins us now to talk about lawmakers' attempts to restructure how the state's schools are governed.

Judicial
7:10 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Legislature might raise retirement age for judges and justices

The Wyoming House has given final approval to a proposed constitutional amendment that would remove the mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court Justices and District Court Judges. 

The current age is 70; the new legislation would raise the retirement age to 75.

Cheyenne Republican Dan Zwonitzer is sponsoring the bill and he says the state has lost some good judges this way.

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health care
7:02 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Wyoming House considers allowing out-of-state health insurance companies to market within the state

Rep. Eric Barlow

In an effort to find ways to offer health insurance to citizens, the Wyoming House of Representatives is considering a bill that would allow insurance companies from outside of the state to offer policies to Wyoming residents. 

The House gave initial approval to the bill that will also allow in-state companies to match the price offered by the out of state insurance company.  Supporters see this as a way to provide consumers a more competitive marketplace for health insurance.  Some feared the measure could hurt Wyoming’s health insurance providers. 

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Education
6:44 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Senate debates raising dropout age

In an effort to improve Wyoming Graduation rates, Senator Chris Rothfuss is pushing a bill that would require students to stay in school until graduation or age 18. 

If they need to drop out of school between the ages of 16 and 18, they will require written parental permission.  Currently Wyoming students can drop out of school after the age of 16. 

Rothfuss says they are trying to raise the education bar. 

Fellow Senator Bill Landen had opposed the bill, but he says he’s changed his mind.

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News
3:43 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

WY Senate approves bill that could reduce number of full time magistrates

The State Senate has approved a bill that gives the Wyoming Supreme Court the authority to reduce the number of full time Circuit Court magistrates. A magistrate is appointed by a Judge to oversee court duties when the Judge is not present.  In rural areas a magistrate handles minor judicial duties.

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Medicaid
6:48 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Senate committee approves Medicaid reform bill

After several days of discussion, the Senate Health and Labor Committee has approved a bill that is intended to reform Medicaid in Wyoming. 

Medicaid is an expensive program for the state to run and lawmakers have been looking at how to reduce costs, but not take away services.  One significant change would be how the state handles those with developmental disabilities and brain injuries. 

The state spends 120 million dollars a year on those services. 

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gas tax
6:45 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

State House supports gas tax increase

The Wyoming House of Representatives has given initial approval to a bill raising Wyoming’s fuel tax by ten cents, from 14 cents a gallon to 24 cents. 

House Revenue Committee Chairman Mike Madden says the state has spent millions from Wyoming's General fund to pay for roads, and he says they need more revenue to pay for maintenance and construction.  

Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau says the increase is justified.

“What this tax is is a user fee,” Lubnau says.  It’s a self-supported user fee that supports our highways.” 

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Education
5:48 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Wyoming Senate passes bill to take power from state superintendent

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill

The Wyoming Senate has given final approval to a bill that takes power away from the state superintendent and creates an appointed director to run the Department of Education. 

The Senate voted 20-10 to approve the measure.  Senator Hank Coe blames the move on failures by the State Superintendent Cindy Hill to follow through on legislative mandates, a charge Hill denies.  Coe says Hill has lacked management skills.  He says that’s led to a 40-percent turnover.

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News
12:48 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

WY Senate to consider new math requirements for schools

An effort to require all students to take four years of math will be considered by the State Senate.  The Senate Education Committee recommended passage of the measure sponsored by Laramie Democrat Chris Rothfuss. He says too many students who go on to attend college either struggle or have to take remedial classes.  The bill will require students to pass four years of math-based classes in order to graduate.

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News
12:44 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Sen. Health and Labor Committee approves Medicaid reform

After several days of discussion, the Senate Health and Labor Committee approved a bill that is intended to reform Medicaid in Wyoming.  Medicaid is an expensive program for the state to run and lawmakers have been looking at how to reduce costs, but not take away services.  One significant change would be how the state handles those with developmental disabilities and brain injuries.  The state spends $120 million a year on those services. Cheyenne Senator Leslie Nutting says they would reduce costs without eliminating services by trying to focus coverage on services that people actually n

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News
6:43 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

WY Senate debates bill to help state's ailing Juvenile Justice System

For years, Wyoming’s Juvenile Justice system has received low grades from national groups.  Part of the problem is that the state locks up many juvenile offenders, but local groups say that prevention and intervention services aren’t available in all communities in the state.  A bill being debated in the state senate is intended to change that. 

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News
6:24 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

WY House of Reps. considers bill to raise retirement age for Supreme Court Justices

Another effort to change Wyoming’s mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court Justices and State Court Judges has gained initial support from the state House of Representatives.  The current retirement age is 70 and a number of groups have called for that mandatory age to be raised because they say that too many good judges are being forced into retirement.  The most recent was Supreme Court Justice Michael Golden.  But in the past, the House and Senate could not reach a consensus on what the retirement age should be.  Sponsor, Cheyenne Republican Dan Zwonitzer, says he is taking a differen

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News
12:32 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Senate continues to debate overhauling the State Superintendent's office

The State Senate continues working on a bill that would change the way education is governed in Wyoming. 

The bill would lead to the appointment of a State Education Director, who would oversee such things as education accountability and school funding.

But Senator Curt Meier amended the legislation, restoring a number of duties to the State Superintendent’s office.  Under the amendment, the Superintendent would remain a voting member on the State Board of Education. 

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Open Spaces
4:51 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

January 11th, 2013

Rep. Lummis appointed to US House Subcommittee on Energy
Wyoming’s Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis has been appointed to chair the U.S. House of Representatives’ Science Subcommittee on Energy. The subcommittee will oversee energy research, development and demonstration projects. Lummis spoke with Rebecca Martinez from the Capitol press room in Cheyenne this week.

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Open Spaces
4:36 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

In Wyoming, lobbying is not about money

Credit Irina Zhorov

Thanks to the occasional national scandal those who lobby government officials don’t always have the best reputation.  A lobbyist is someone who tries to persuade legislators to support measures that benefit his or her employer or special interest.  But while big money and gifts make a big difference on Capitol Hill, those involved in the legislative process say that in Wyoming…it’s more about trust and relationships.   Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports…

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News
11:33 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Mead calls for studying healthcare during State of the State address

Governor Matt Mead is urging legislators not to dismiss health care issues, but to study them and craft a Wyoming response to the Affordable Care Act.  During his state of the state message today, Mead asked legislators to study both the health insurance exchange and Medicaid expansion. 

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News
8:10 am
Tue January 1, 2013

Wildlife Federation urges outdoor play resolutions

It isn’t easy to get your kids to play outdoors, but the National Wildlife Federation is encouraging families to make that a New Year’s resolution.  The “Be Out There” campaign offers tips and advice to parents who pledge to help get their kids to play outdoors every week. 

Campaign manager Lindsay Legendre says their survey found that 94 percent of parents say kids aren’t getting enough time outside. The barriers include things such as weather, concerns about safety, and the lure of technology. Legendre says their website offers some solutions.

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