Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
When I saw the headline that a state senator is becoming the head of the Nevada Mining Association, I had to read more. A special election in the narrowly divided Nevada Senate? Exciting stuff!
Here's the thing though. Senator Mark Amodei isn't resigning his seat. Essentially, he's going to be a lobbyist and a legislator simultaneously.
I imagine that in states with part-time legislatures such as Nevada, arrangements like this one aren't that unusual. It's not as flabbergasting to me as what Sharpe James did, serving for years as both a New Jersey state senator and as the mayor of the state's largest city, Newark.
Undoubtedly, Amodei won the job because he already supports the mining group's perspectives. He says he'll abstain from votes that present a conflict of interest and thinks disclosing his role should solve the problem.
I'm skeptical that it will really be that simple. Mine owners are interested in lots of topics not directly related to mining from tax policy to workers compensation rules to climate change policy.
However, Amodei also notes that his new job has less potential for conflicts of interest than his old one, in which he worked for a law firm with clients interested in influencing public policy. Very reassuring.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.