KJACK Radio News 4/16/19

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Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 8:00 am

I’m Sebastian Smith with KJACK Radio News and these are your top headlines for Tuesday, April 16th.

The death of a police officer struck by a driver who was allegedly texting his wife may be a catalyst for Arizona lawmakers to restrict phone use behind the wheel following a decade of failed attempts. It is one of only three states without a texting ban. The Senate has passed three bills to punish distracted drivers, but they're held up in the House, where majority Republicans disagree over how far to go in legislating behavior. The Senate has voted twice to outlaw any hand-held phone use by the driver of a moving vehicle, and also backed an alternative bill that bans any practice that distracts a driver in an unsafe manner. House Speaker Rusty Bowers said he's working to find a compromise among fellow Republicans and expects to allow a vote before the end of the Legislative session later this spring. Some prefer that officers be allowed to ticket cellphone users only if they make a stop for another reason. Others want to see different rules in urban and rural areas. And some say legislation is unnecessary because officers can already stop people acting dangerously. 

Leaders of the Navajo Nation and Pueblo tribes expressed frustration Monday with federal oversight of oil and gas leases on public holdings near ancient Native American cultural sites and endorsed legislation to restrict natural gas development around Chaco Culture National Historic Park. Acoma Pueblo tribal Gov. Brian Vallo told members of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources at a hearing in New Mexico that not enough is being done to safeguard sacred sites scattered beyond the national park at Chaco Canyon. "Many of the sites involve more than just physical features that can be surveyed by archaeologists," he said, referring to the less tangible aspects of Chaco.

Jurors have reached a verdict in the trial of a man accused of killing his girlfriend in 2017, but Maricopa County Superior Court officials say it won't be read until Tuesday morning. Robert John Interval was tried on one count of premeditated first-degree murder in the presumed death of 34-year-old Christine Mustafa. She was the subject of a 12-week search of a Phoenix landfill after disappearing in May 2017. After the search ended in December 2017, police said there still was enough evidence to win a conviction. During the trial, the prosecution said the 39-year-old interval made incriminating statements in texts, bought mattress covers the day Mustafa disappeared in May 2017, and was seen outside a trash transfer facility later that day.

Today's weather is looking mostly cloudy with a low around 36 degrees. There will be wind about 15 to 20 mph with gusts as high as 33 mph. Showers are likely and there is possibility of a thunderstorm after 2pm. Later on in the evening, the weather looks to be partly sunny with a high near 51 degrees and gusts as high as 33 MPH.

Those were your top headlines. I'm Sebastian Smith with KJACK News.