Wednesday Afternoon News, January 15
Justice Cady Delivers "Condition Of The Judiciary" Address
(Des Moines) -- The chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court is asking legislators to set aside two-million dollars to provide a four-and-a-half percent salary hike for Iowa judges and magistrates. Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady (KAY-dee) delivered the annual "Condition of the Judiciary" address to legislators and the governor today (Wednesday) in Des Moines.
Iowa judges and magistrates went five years without a pay boost, until last year when legislators provided them a four-and-a-half percent salary increase.
Representative Gary Worthan (WER-thun), a Republican from Storm Lake, is co-chair of the panel that drafts the budget for the judicial branch. He says not only did judges go without salary hikes, some openings on the bench went unfilled to plug other holes in the budget during those five years.
The Iowa Supreme Court's chief justice is seeking an overall budget increase of three-point-seven percent for the judicial branch.
For the past four years, many clerk of court offices were periodically.
Sioux City Cuts $4 Million From City Budget Due To Red-Light Cameras May Disappear
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Sioux City officials are cutting $4 million in traffic camera funding from the city's budget, under the assumption the state won't allow placement of two cameras along Interstate 29.
Only about $100,000 from the city's red-light cameras is in the proposed fiscal year 2015 budget released Tuesday.
The Iowa Transportation Commission recently approved new rules over who controls speed and red-light cameras on state-supervised highways and interstates. The regulations still need to go through a public hearing.
The city may need to raise property taxes to cover the loss. They may also increase fees, make funding cuts or implement layoffs. Mayor Bob Scott says the proposed tax hike is a worst-case scenario, and officials will try to come up with other options.
Congressman Braley Wants USDA To Help Fight Emerald Ash Borer
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley says Iowa needs help protecting trees from the spread of emerald ash borer.
Braley on Wednesday sent a letter to US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, asking him to provide resources to Iowa and other states dealing with this beetle.
Emerald ash borer is an invasive beetle that kills ash trees. Iowa has put part of the state under quarantine in an attempt to slow the spread of the infestation.
There are over three million ash trees in the state of Iowa.
In his letter, Braley says that cities and counties can't easily afford to fight this infestation alone. He says the federal government should act quickly, before there is more damage.
Jury Selection Resumes For 1974 Murder
OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) - Jury selection has resumed for a second day at the trial of a man charged with killing a teenage girl in an Iowa farmhouse in 1974.
Robert "Gene" Pilcher is charged in the slaying of 17-year-old Mary Jayne Jones, who was found naked and shot to death in the farmhouse outside Ottumwa.
The case went unsolved for decades. Investigators arrested Pilcher in 2012 after additional testing discovered his DNA on the sheets of the bed where Mary Jayne was found.
Pilcher's defense claims the DNA material is from another sexual encounter he had in the home, which was owned by his cousin.
Prosecutors and defense lawyers met privately for hours before jury selection resumed Wednesday afternoon. They're trying to select a 12-person jury out of a pool of 35.
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