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Posted: 3:00 PM- A bill aimed at giving justice court judges more independence from the cities and counties they serve unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee Tuesday.

SB72's first substitute, sponsored by Senator Lyle Hillyard, R-Cache/Rich, would:

-- Create a nominating commission to review and recommend judge candidates for appointment.

-- Increase terms from four to six years beginning in 2010, and set salaries between 50 percent and 90 percent of those of district court judges.

-- Prohibit judges from working in law enforcement, or as prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys or correction or court authorities while on the bench and require them to have four-year degrees.

"The intent is to increase professionalism and use judges more efficiently," Hillyard said Tuesday.