77th Legislature opens for business Monday
The 77th session of the Nevada Legislature will be gaveled to order at 11 a.m. Monday as the Senate and Assembly begin the procedural pomp and circumstance needed to officially organize and begin the session.One of the first orders of business in the 2013 Assembly will be the creation of a special panel to review the turmoil surrounding the conduct of Assemblyman Steven Brooks, D-North Las Vegas, and make recommendations on whether he is fit to serve. The Assembly, under the Constitution, could actually expel Brooks on a two-thirds vote, but that is a step most lawmakers would rather avoid.Brooks allegedly threatened physical violence against Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick D-North Las Vegas. Over the past couple of weeks, Brooks has been involved in a number of incidents that can only be described as bizarre. He has been detained by North Las Vegas Police twice, first accused of threatening or intimidating a public official, Kirkpatrick, and second after an incident at his grandmother’s home in which officers confiscated a sword from him.His wife, family and even close friends have expressed concern over his mental condition. But Brooks has indicated he plans to attend the opening session and be sworn in with his fellow lower house members.Most of the day will be taken up getting acquainted or re-acquainted with fellow lawmakers. No committee hearings are scheduled for Monday.But since lawmakers are bound to a 120 calendar-day schedule for the regular session, they’ll waste no time getting started on the business at hand. Committee hearings start at 8 a.m. Tuesday with pre-filed bills already scheduled in most committees.The money committees, as they traditionally have, will begin their review of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s recommended budget with an examination of the spending plan for the governor’s office itself in Assembly Ways and Means. In Senate Finance, it will be the Office of High Level Nuclear Waste, Ethics Commission and Gaming Control Board.Lawmakers on those committees have already received an overview of what is in the governor’s budget in hearings during the past two weeks. Now the detailed examination of each agency’s spending plan begins.