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.

Ways to Connect

Guns in Walmart
Bob Beck

This year the Wyoming Legislature is dealing with a couple of pro-gun bills. So what else is new? It seems like lawmakers are discussing gun bills all the time, but supporters of the legislation say that’s because there are still self-defense and safety issues that need to be resolved.  

The Wyoming Senate made major changes to a bill that would allow someone to use deadly force if their life is in danger or they face the threat of bodily harm. 

The biggest change to the Stand Your Ground Bill removed immunity from prosecution and civil liability for someone who uses deadly force. Senator Drew Perkins says his amendment moves the bill closer to what other states are doing. Senator Anthony Bouchard said the Perkins amendment guts the bill. He added that people in Wyoming have gone to prison for just defending themselves.

A bill that would remove several million dollars from the education funding model was approved on second reading despite some amendments.  The bill was changed to reduce cuts that most school districts would face to roughly three percent.

Wyoming State Legislature

It’s the halfway point of the Wyoming legislative session, and Wyoming Public Radio News Director Bob Beck joins Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard to discuss what the big issues are for the state's lawmakers.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming House and Senate wrapped up budget work Friday. As predicted the Senate made several reductions to education spending. Senate Education Chairman Hank Coe says the cuts were outside of the classroom and were necessary when you look at the state’s fiscal situation. 

“If all the cuts take place that we are talking about here with what we did last year, we are talking about 5 percent in cuts total. Most agencies have taken ten and 12 percent, community colleges have taken 15 percent cuts, the University has cut $41 million. So, I think there’s room for reductions.”

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Senate heard its version of a Stand Your Ground gun law and gave it initial support despite a lot of concern over a presumed innocence provision. The House is considering a similar bill.

EQC Funding Restored

Feb 25, 2018

The Wyoming Senate on Friday voted to overturn a decision by the Joint Appropriations Committee to remove future funding from the state’s Environmental Quality Council. 

The funding was removed over the fact that the EQC opposed a coal mine in Sheridan County. Senator Cale Case says the issue was clearly payback.

“And Mr. President you and I both know that’s not the best way to handle an appellate agency that has such an important role in our state.”

Marion Orr

An effort to pass legislation to help smaller communities get high-speed internet is getting pushback from those in the industry. Lobbyists presented a substitute bill presumably intended to keep communities from forming their own internet operations. 

Legislative Service Office

Despite some strong opposition, the Wyoming House of Representatives gave final approval to a bill that would set up an investments task force with the goal of getting more money out of Wyoming’s investments. 

Wyoming State Legislature

A Senate legislative committee has approved two bills intended to help address the state’s opioid problem. One bill sets up a task force to determine what the problem is and what could be done about it and the other sets up tracking for controlled substance prescriptions in the state. 

Kemmerer Senator Fred Baldwin says they want to track prescriptions so they know who is getting what and how often. 

Logo is courtesy of the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition

You may have heard a little about Blockchain, but if some people in Wyoming have their way, you will learn a lot about it. Because according to these experts, legislation that Wyoming lawmakers are considering this year could open the floodgates for Blockchain businesses. Some lawmakers are comparing it to the internet boom of the 1990’s and say it could completely change Wyoming’s economic future. 

Courtesy of the U.S. Air Force

U.S. Air Force Major General Don Alston was in charge of the nation’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Force at F.E. Warren Air Force base and is considered an expert on nuclear deterrence.

He’s currently a consultant on the issue and lives in Cheyenne. Major General Alston joins Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck to discuss a recent review of the nation’s nuclear system and what needs to be done to prepare the country for some new threats. Alston says a recent report indicated that the nation is facing some challenges.

Bob Beck

A State Senate Committee voted to unanimously support a bill that will help the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality clean up abandoned contaminated sites in the state. The DEQ has been busy repairing a number of so-called orphan sites around the state where the companies are no longer available to pay for the cleanup.  

Luke Esch of the DEQ says the legislation provides money from an account funded by taxes and fees. 

"Really allows us to get away from general funds and find a sustainable source of funding for these projects."

Office of Governor Matt Mead

In his final state of the state message, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead stressed the need to restore some budget cuts, work to diversify the economy, and look for long-term ways to fund education. 

Mead says Wyoming did a good job cutting the budget to deal with a revenue shortfall, but now that the revenue picture has improved, he would like to see the legislature restore funding cuts for agencies such as the Departments of Health and Corrections. 

The 2018 budget session gets underway today, and Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck will once again oversee coverage. He joined Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard to preview what might be in store.

Bob Beck

This week, after months of discussion, a legislative committee defeated a number of tax increase measures. The Joint Revenue Committee was hoping to find money to pay for a revenue shortfall that some thought could reach a billion dollars. Then a funny thing happened over the summer, the revenue picture improved just enough that taxes could be avoided. 

Wyoming Legislature

Later this month the Wyoming Legislature will be asked to consider a bill that will hopefully stabilize Wyoming’s Air Service. Senate Vice President Michael Von Flatern of Gillette is the main sponsor and he joins Bob Beck to explain the concept.

UW Presents

The spring semester season of the University of Wyoming’s Cultural series gets underway next week. Janelle Fletcher is the Director of Fine Arts Outreach and Cultural programs at the University of Wyoming. The season features a wide range of programs including some amazing acrobats. She joins Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck.

Wyoming Legislature

After hearing that the state’s revenue picture is improving thanks to rising oil prices, the legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee rejected five tax proposals. 

They were intended to help address a $500 million shortfall in education funding. The committee defeated a one percent leisure and hospitality tax on a tie vote and refused to consider four other proposals that included raising sales and property taxes. 

House Minority Leader Cathy Connolly says when the short-term funding crisis disappeared this fall, there was no longer an appetite for taxes.                     

State Of Wyoming

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead signed two executive orders Friday that address recommendations recommended by his ENDOW Council.  

The first one asks state education officials to develop a plan where 67 percent of Wyoming’s working age population would hold a post-secondary degree or certificate by 2025, and for 82 percent to achieve that by 2040.  

         

Miles Bryan

Four years ago a judge ruled that Wyoming’s drug laws only deal with plant forms of marijuana which means that people with large amounts of edible marijuana could not face felony charges. Law enforcement agencies have asked the legislature to address the matter, but it’s been a tough battle. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports neither side has been willing to budge. 

In Wyoming, pot is illegal. Not so in neighboring Colorado, where recreational marijuana is available in a variety of different forms.

Wyoming Medical Center

A study of seven rural states by the Bipartisan Policy Center found that there are challenges to health care delivery. One of the states it studied was Wyoming which has fewer doctors, higher workplace deaths and problems with substance abuse. Heidi Schultz is the Rural Healthcare Program Officer with the Helmsley Trust, which has partnered with the Bipartisan Policy Center. She tells Bob Beck that Wyoming only has 65 primary care physicians per 100,000 people, much lower than the national average. 

Weatherby Inc.

Sheridan has attracted a firearms manufacturer that is expected to provide between 70 and 90 jobs.  Weatherby Inc. announced Tuesday that it will relocate its manufacturing operations to Sheridan after over 70 years in California. 

Weatherby said it is coming to Sheridan because of its available workforce and Wyoming’s business-friendly environment. Sheridan City Administrator Mark Collins said the community is the site of a number of manufacturing companies, and he thinks that helped attract their business.

Bob Beck

Last year the governor set up the Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming Council, better known as ENDOW.

After a few months of touring the state and meetings, ENDOW has developed a list of recommendations to start setting the stage for diversifying the economy. Greg Hill is the Chairman of Endow and he tells Bob Beck why ENDOW is different from past economic development efforts. 

Following a legislative meeting a few weeks ago where some citizens verbally attacked a legislator, the Wyoming legislature’s management council says it will better train committee chairmen to properly handle such attacks. 

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