After initially asking for a medical leave of absence, Assemblyman Steven Brooks, D-North Las Vegas, refused to sign the necessary papers, instead telling lower house leaders - including the Assembly speaker he's accused of threatening - that he is ready to assume his legislative seat and serve.
Assembly Majority Leader William Horne, D-Las Vegas, said Brooks had asked Sunday for leave to take care of his physical and psychological issues.
"Today, he informed us he would not take that leave," said Horne. "We anticipate he will be attending all his committee assignments. He says he's ready to come and serve."
Horne and Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, said they disagree with that decision.
"I believe Mr. Brooks should take some time to deal with his issues," said Horne. "I've known Mr. Brooks a little over three years and in my opinion, Mr. Brooks is not the same gentleman I used to know."
Even though Brooks' saga first became public when he allegedly threatened to harm Kirkpatrick, the speaker said she "absolutely" feels safe.
"I'm concerned that Mr. Brooks needs to address his medical concerns," Kirkpatrick said. "I hope he is prepared and does the work."
The Assembly leaders said a new committee that will study how to deal with situations like this and that will investigate Brooks and his conduct will be appointed Thursday. The panel will report back to the Assembly with recommendations that could range from no action to expulsion from the body.
If Brooks, who was not available for comment, doesn't keep up with his legislative duties, Horne said, "that will be another piece of the evidence."
Brooks was first accused of threatening violence against a public officer - Kirkpatrick - more than a week ago. If pursued, that charge is a felony. That was followed by his hospitalization with digestive tract bleeding. But there were other bizarre incidents including one at his grandmother's home involving a sword that police confiscated. He also reportedly told family and friends he was willing to have it out with police.
Since Brooks arrived in Carson City, he has been pretty much surrounded by a phalanx of legislative police to keep reporters away from him. Asked whether that would continue, Horne evaded a direct answer and instead asked media at a brief press conference to "give him some space." While he said he doesn't believe Brooks has asked that protection continue, Horne said he could.
"Mr. Brooks, like any other member of the legislative body, can ask for dignitary protection," Horne said.
Horne said Brooks will be expected to show up for his legislative duties just like all other members. That question will be answered Wednesday morning when Ways and Means, the legislative budget committee on which he serves, convenes. He was accused of allegedly threatening Kirkpatrick after she declined to name him as Ways and Means chairman.
Article Topics: LegislatureLegislature