Amodei named Speaker pro-tem of Nevada Senate

Carson City Republican Mark Amodei will be speaker pro tempore of the Nevada Senate in the 2003 Legislature, handling the gavel when the lieutenant governor isn't at the podium.

Amodei replaces Lawrence Jacobson of Minden, who retired from the Senate this year, in what is one of the most prestigious posts in the Senate.

Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, will return as Senate majority leader, as will Ray Rawson of Las Vegas as his assistant.

Raggio said Thursday the remaining leadership posts and committee assignments in the Senate have not yet been decided.

Amodei also has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Mark James as chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee. James left the Senate this year to run for Clark County commissioner.

Assembly Minority Leader Lynn Hettrick, R-Gardnerville, will return in that post this session despite early rumors his leadership would be challenged.

"There was some contention that more could be done of different things could be done, but it was all pretty well settled before we took a vote," he said.

With a much-strengthened caucus of 19 instead of 15 out of 42 members, Hettrick said the GOP has a chance to make much more of an impact in the lower house.

"Everyone sees we have an opportunity," he said.

He said, however, he doesn't intend to just block tax legislation, even though he has enough members to prevent the required two-thirds majority.

"Yes, we have some control over what gets passed in revenues," he said. "Is there a general consensus the state needs more revenue? The answer is yes."

But he said they will wait to see what the Governor's Task Force on Tax Policy recommends and the governor proposes in his budget before taking any stand.

Hettrick said freshman Josh Griffin of Las Vegas will be his second in command with David Brown of Boulder City and Sharron Angle of Reno as whips. Griffin is the son of former Reno mayor Jeff Griffin and a former lobbyist and campaign manager.

Senate Democrats returned Dina Titus of Las Vegas as minority leader in the upper house, despite some grumbling. She said there was no move to try to dump her despite statements by Sen. Mike Schneider of Las Vegas earlier Wednesday that new leadership was needed.

Schneider said Titus talked with him before the meeting and promised a more open leadership style this session.

Titus said Democrats, who still hold nine of 21 Senate seats, must "try to work more as a team."

Assembly Democrats still hold 23 of the 42 seats in what they like to call "the people's house." They were meeting Thursday evening to make some leadership decisions.

Richard Perkins of Henderson said he was the agreed-upon choice for a second term as speaker. Barbara Buckley of Las Vegas was expected to return as majority leader and the rest of the Democratic line including most committee chairmanships was not expected to change much.

It will take at least a week or two for the rest of the assignments including committee chairs in both houses to be finalized.


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