2013 Legislature: Assemblyman Brooks to take medical leave

Jim Grant / Nevada Appeal

Jim Grant / Nevada Appeal

A Las Vegas assemblyman, who has been the center of several bizarre incidents in the past couple of months, agreed to take a medical leave after being sworn in Monday.

Assemblyman Steven Brooks was arrested Jan. 19 after allegedly threatening violence against chamber Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas.

"He has some medical issues he needs to get wrapped up," Kirkpatrick said

By the end of the day, Kirkpatrick, said details of that leave still are up in the air with Brooks wanting to return in as little as a week to 10 days and leadership wanting a more open ended agreement.

"He's looking for some specific times," she said. "We want to make sure there's enough flexibility so we don't have to revisit this. We don't want to do this every 10 days."

In addition to his arrest, Brooks was placed on a 72-hour hold for psychiatric evaluation after an incident at his grandmother's home involving a sword.

Kirkpatrick said that how long Brooks can be gone depends in part on the voters in his North Las Vegas Assembly district and whether they "put some pressure there to have some representation."

With him on leave, those voters will not have a representative in the Assembly.

Kirkpatrick said, however, she doesn't expect Brooks to be gone for the entire session.

"I doubt that," she said. "I forsee him coming back."

She said Brooks' decision to take leave isn't unprecedented, pointing out that other lawmakers have taken time out during session. One of the more common reasons will occur again this session when Kirkpatrick said Teresa Benitez-Thompson will be out for "a few weeks" to have her third child.

Brooks' decision won't cancel plans to appoint a select committee to look into the situation. But Kirkpatrick said instead of an investigation of Brooks and his conduct, the select committee will look into how the Legislature should handle situations where a lawmaker needs to take leave or is accused of misconduct in the future. She said the committee will have to work out what leadership's options are in different situations. That committee will be announced Thursday, she said.

"The most important thing is that Steven recognizes he needs to get some help," she said.

Kirkpatrick met with Brooks on Sunday and again both before and after Monday's floor session.

"Steven and I had a conversation and he apologized and I accepted," she said.

She said she expects Brooks to send her a letter saying he needs to take a medical leave to make everything official.

After he quietly took his seat just after 11 a.m., he was approached by several members of the press.

He told them to talk to Kirkpatrick saying, "This is her day."

After the swearing in ceremonies, he stood to congratulate Kirkpatrick.

"You will serve us well," he told her. "Now let's change the world as we know it in the state of Nevada."


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