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 Wednesday, October 6.
There will be a chance for rain Wednesday that will only increase in likelihood as Wednesday approaches Thursday. According to the National Weather Service there will be a 20 percent chance of showers after 3 p.m. in the Cedar Rapids area and a 40 percent chance after midnight. When not raining, it should be mostly cloudy, with a high near 79 degrees. The low temperature on Wednesday night will be about 61.
Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden announced that he will be retiring after being the elected county attorney for over 11 years.
In recent years, the 38-year veteran of the office has faced some challenges over decisions made during his tenure involving shootings by police officers. One such case was Jerime Mitchell, who was shot and paralyzed by former Cedar Rapids police officer Lucas Jones on Nov. 1, 2016.
Vander Sanden on Tuesday didn’t mention the Mitchell case or others, but said he has no regrets for the decisions he made and stands by them.
Vander Sanden recommended that the Linn County Board of Supervisors appoint assistant Linn County attorney Nick Maybanks to finish out his term, and said Maybank is the only one currently at the office who has expressed interest in running for the position.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will join nine other Republican governors Wednesday in visiting the Texas-Mexico border and holding a news conference to discuss what they term a “border crisis” and the Democratic Biden administration’s response to it.
Reynolds’ office did not provide details of the governor’s itinerary other than to confirm she will be part of a tour of the U.S. southern border and will hold a conference call with Iowa reporters afterward in the midafternoon.
Asked Tuesday if the Iowa governor’s trip to Texas was considered official state business that would be paid for by state funds, Alex Murphy, the governor’s communications director, confirmed her office considered it an official visit.
A plan that would have thrown more than 60 incumbent legislators into election districts with at least one other lawmaker and dramatically changed the state’s four congressional districts was rejected Tuesday by the Republican majority in the Iowa Senate.
In Iowa, the proposed maps are drawn by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency’s legal and data analysts. The boundaries are supposed to be drawn without consideration of political ramifications, such as how new district lines will affect individual lawmakers’ re-election chances or the balance of power. This process has long been considered a model for fairness that national analysts feel should be emulated by other states.
State law calls for the maps to be drawn, as much as possible, in square, rectangular or hexagonal shapes so as to avoid irregular-shaped districts. Republican Senators, who voted unanimously against the first draft, cited a desire for a new draft with less irregular districts. Democratic senators, who voted unanimously for the first draft, accused Republicans of tampering with a historically impartial process.
The process now returns to the Legislative Services Agency to prepare a second map. Like the first, lawmakers will vote it up or down without amendment. If that is rejected, a third map will be prepared. If they choose, lawmakers can amend that one — essentially drawing their own map.