116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Tuesday, May 4.
After a humid and rainy Monday, we are back to pleasant and cooler Tuesday.
According to the National Weather Service, it will be partly sunny Tuesday with a high near 61 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area. The wind will hover around 15 mph. Tuesday night it will be mostly clear, with a low of 41 degrees.
Lawmakers and activists opposed to abortion rights said Monday they are on track to put what they call a “Protect Life Amendment” asking voters to declare the Iowa Constitution does not provide a right to abortion on the statewide ballot as early as 2024.
Similar versions of the resolution have been advanced by Republicans in the Iowa Senate and Iowa House, and proponents say there is now agreement between the chambers on the wording of the proposal — which must be approved by two consecutive general assemblies before Iowa voters decide whether to amend the constitution.
Republicans have taken this approach because multiple bills they passed in attempt to limit abortion in the state were defeated by legal challenges. Now they are pushing for language to amend the Iowa constitution to the effect that abortion, or funding to get one, should not be protected rights under state law. They then would be able to pass laws restricting abortion again, with a greater likelihood of it passing. This is especially pertinent if a change is made to precedent nationally, such as a ruling against Roe v. Wade.
Because a body has never been found, the grave of James “Jim Bob” Booher remains empty.
However, on Monday a federal jury decided they had seen enough evidence to give his family some measure of justice, finding Matthew Robbins guilty of the murder and a variety of federal firearm and robbery charges. Robbins, already serving time on a gun charge, now faces a mandatory of 10 years and possibly life in prison.
According to testimony, more than one witness said Robbins fatally shot Booher, 51, with a sawed-off shotgun on May 31, 2014, and burned his body at a pit at a farmhouse on Nederhiser Road near Ely that Robbins rented at the time. Witnesses testified Robbins killed Booher because he was angry that Booher repeatedly sold him meth mixed with bath salts, reducing its purity or potency.
Moody’s Investors Service has assigned Cedar Rapids the agency’s second-highest bond rating because of the city's “healthy financial position,” with a large tax base and revenue-raising flexibility despite risks of the city-owned hotel and convention center and above-average leverage associated with debt and pension obligations.
The Aa1 rating, the agency’s second highest, indicates the bonds are deemed to be of high quality and are subject to low credit risk. In analyzing the city’s financials, Moody’s determined that the city has not been badly hurt by the pandemic, and predict a surplus by the end of the year.
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