by S. LANEY OLSON
On Feb. 9, Assemblyman William Horne announced that he will be chairing a committee to discuss whether Assemblyman Steven Brooks is fit for service. Horne and fellow Assembly Members Dina Neal, Richard Carrillo, Jason Frierson, Pat Hickey, Lynn Stewart and Wes Duncan all hope to begin meeting next week in afterhours sessions.
The committee is being formed not only to deal with Brooks, but also to set a precedent for similar situations that may occur in the future. Brooks has made headlines in the last few months for several publicity stunts, including his arrest on Jan. 19 for an alleged threat made to Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick. Horne said the committee was not formed because of Brooks’ criminal charges, and the goal is not expel him permanently.
The Democratic Caucus expelled Brooks on Feb. 6; Horne said the point of the caucus is to discuss topics in private.
“Expelling Mr. Brooks is best for him and us,” Horne says. “He was not an appropriate member for the caucus.”
During Thursday’s assembly meeting, Brooks announced that he will be taking a three-week leave of absence and cannot be reached for any further comment. The committee will likely have Legislative Counsel Bureau Legal present, but is also seeking outside council in the matter. Brooks will also be permitted to attend the meetings. The committee will be looking at Brooks’ attendance and participation in legislative meetings but will not consider his criminal charges when making the final decision.
If the committee decides to expel Brooks, two-thirds of the Assembly must take a vote. Horne said he hopes the process is a quick one so no more time is taken away from this year’s session. Since Nevada has never experienced an issue like this before, the decision of the committee will set a precedent to all future Nevada legislatures.
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