Future Uncertain for Arrested Nevada Lawmaker Who Threatened Another Lawmaker

After telling a legislator that the Assembly Speaker's "first day as speaker would be her last," Steven Brooks is free on bail, though some lawmakers are already discussing the possibility of preventing him from serving in the 2013 legislative session.
by | January 22, 2013
 

By David McGrath Schwartz

Steven Brooks, the Democratic assemblyman arrested for threatening the Democratic leader, said he plans to come to Carson City this week, setting up a potentially tense situation as the Legislature prepares to review the state's budget Tuesday night.

"I'm innocent," Brooks told Las Vegas journalist Jon Ralston.

In a series of messages with the Las Vegas Sun, Brooks said that he would hold a news conference and planned to come to Carson City today.

It was not entirely clear right now if Brooks would be allowed in the Legislative Building in Carson City.

Assembly Majority Leader William Horne, D-Las Vegas, said the Legislature will "go through with our training and the rest of the Legislative process. That's not going to change."

When asked if Brooks would be welcome, Horne said: "If the LCB (Legislative Counsel Bureau) deems that it will not be safe to have Mr. Brooks here, I'm sure they'll take precautions accordingly. ... Whether that means keeping Mr. Brooks out of the building or not -- that has not been conveyed to me as of yet."

When asked if Assembly Speaker-elect Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, was seeking a temporary restraining order against Brooks, he said, "It would not surprise me if that has occurred."

The Assembly Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee are scheduled to have a training session Tuesday evening ahead of budget reviews that begin Wednesday morning.

Both Kirkpatrick and Brooks, also a Democrat from North Las Vegas, are on the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.

Brooks is free on bail, though some lawmakers are already discussing the possibility of preventing him from serving in the 2013 Legislative session.

Brooks, 40, told Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas, that Kirkpatrick's "first day as speaker would be her last," according to a source speaking on the condition of anonymity. Police arrested Brooks without incident Saturday one count of intimidating a public officer by threat of physical violence. A source said he was found with a loaded gun. Atkinson did not respond to requests for comment.

Legislative police, meanwhile, have been assigned to protect lawmakers, according to Legislative Counsel Bureau Director Rick Combs.

"We have a situation where we have legislators who obviously feel threatened," Combs said. "Legislative police have responded."

The process to expel a member of the Legislature is laid out in the Nevada Constitution.

It would require a two-thirds vote of all lawmakers to expel a member for "disorderly conduct."

Caucus members and staff declined to comment on Monday, describing the situation as tense and fluid. Brooks had been unhappy he was not named chairman of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. One lawmaker confirmed that Brooks had been trying to gather votes about two to three weeks ago to replace Kirkpatrick.

The situation in Carson City could become tense quickly. Members of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee will meet for orientation Tuesday night. They will begin preliminary hearings on Gov. Brian Sandoval's budget on Wednesday morning.

Brooks posted bail around 10 p.m. Sunday, according to North Las Vegas Police Department Sgt. Tim Bedwell. His bail had been set $100,000.

(c)2013 the Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas, Nev.)

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