CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Nevada Assembly took the unprecedented step of ousting one of its own Thursday, voting to expel Assemblyman Steven Brooks after saying people didn’t feel safe with him in the legislative building.
A voice vote came during a somber, emotional hearing in which several members were heard crying and Assembly Majority Leader William Horne said Brooks’ erratic behavior had made the session look “more like a circus and daytime drama than a serious legislative body.”
“How dare they?” Brooks told The Associated Press in a phone call immediately after the vote. “I’ve been convicted of nothing ... They won’t let me testify at the Grant Sawyer Building, and they sent 100 police officers to arrest me.
“Let me ask you, how can they do that?” he added.
His lawyer, Mitchell Posin, said he was “disappointed” and surprised, “especially because I was recently told it wasn’t going to be heard today.”
Posin said he would discuss with Brooks their next step.
The Nevada Democrat has been arrested twice since January and is accusing of making threats toward his colleagues, including Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick.
Brooks also was denied the purchase of a gun in Sparks last month after he was banished from the chambers. His lawyer, Mitchell Posin, says there’s been a misunderstanding and Brooks doesn’t pose any real threat to anyone.
Brooks, 41, won re-election in November by a 2-to-1 margin over an unknown challenger. He first was arrested Jan. 19 in a car with a gun and dozens of rounds of ammunition after allegedly voicing a threat against Kirkpatrick, a fellow North Las Vegas Democrat. The state attorney general’s office is handling that case, and no formal charges have yet been filed.
The Assembly initiated the expulsion of a member accused of libeling other members in 1867 but the matter never came to a formal vote. Back then, Assemblyman A.H. Lissak of Storey County had published a letter referring to the Assembly speaker’s “sore-eyed, red-haired, baboon-looking face” in a political feud that prompted a ban on Territorial Enterprise reporters from the chambers.