Court asked to remove 5 lawmakers |

Court asked to remove 5 lawmakers

Associated Press

The Independent American Party has asked the Nevada Supreme Court to oust five state employees who also serve in the Legislature, arguing their dual roles violate the state constitution.

In a petition filed Friday, party Chairman Joel Hansen asked justices to immediately issue an order requiring the five lawmakers to quit their state jobs or resign from the Legislature.

He said Sen. Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, Assembly members Chris Giunchigliani and Mark Manendo, both D-Las Vegas, Ron Knecht, R-Carson City, and Jason Geddes, R-Reno, should decide between their state jobs and the Legislature.

When not serving as lawmakers, Titus is a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Geddes is an environmental officer for the University of Nevada, Reno; Knecht is a state Public Utilities Commission staff member; and Giunchigliani and Manendo work for the Community College of Southern Nevada.

“The Independent American Party believes that our elected officials should follow the law, especially the constitution,” said Hansen, a Las Vegas lawyer. “The writ will force these legislators to conform to the constitutional separation of powers.”

As lawmakers, the five are part of the legislative branch of government that approve laws and appropriations that affect their executive branch employers. Executive branch employees include those working for the governor or other constitutional officers, along with those in various state boards or agencies, including Nevada’s college and university system.

All five took leaves of absence from their state jobs last year while serving in the Legislature.

Hansen noted in his petition that Attorney General Brian Sandoval issued an opinion March 1 that cited the same separation of powers concern as the reason he also believes the five lawmakers should resign or quit their state jobs.

Sandoval said Friday he will fill a petition this week with the state Supreme Court to resolve uncertainty over his legal opinion.