Supreme Court rejects term limits

It took the Nevada Supreme Court only a week to reject a Fallon man's attempt to throw every lawmaker with 12 or more years service out of the Legislature.

At the same time, justices rejected an Independent American Party demand that certain lawmakers resign either their public job or legislative seat.

John O'Connor filed a petition July 7 specifically asking the court to bar his opponent Sen. Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, from this years' ballot. He argued the constitutional term limits provision which took effect with the 1998 general elections should apply not only to years of legislative service after that time but to all service before.

That would prevent McGinness and nine other senators and nine Assembly members from seeking re-election this year.

His request for action was rejected by Secretary of State Dean Heller and the Attorney General's Office. They and the Legislative Counsel Bureau agreed the clear intent of the organizers of the constitutional ballot question was that the limits of 12 years in each legislative house or constitutional office be applied from its adoption forward, not retroactively.

The high court didn't detail its stance on the issues involved but simply denied O'Connor's petition.

The high court issued a similar order for the IAP petition to compel five members of the Legislature to either resign their public employment or their legislative post.

The lawmakers named were Sen. Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, and Assembly members Mark Manendo and Chris Giunchigliani, both D-Las Vegas, and Republicans Jason Geddes of Reno and Ron Knecht of Carson City. Knecht works for the Public Utilities Commission. The others are university system employees, with the exception of Giunchigliani, who recently resigned from Community College of Southern Nevada.

The high court didn't argue the merits of their complaint - which was based on the separation of powers article of Nevada's Constitution barring anyone from being an official in two branches of government at the same time.

"We conclude that the IAP has not demonstrated that it has standing to bring the instant petition," the order states.

The rulings follow a full court opinion released Wednesday denying the secretary of state's petition asking the court to decide whether public employees in the executive branch can also be members of the Legislature.

The court ruled only the Legislature has the power to decide who to seat in the Senate and Assembly.

Contact Geoff Dornan at or at 687-8750.


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