Assembly names committee chairmen, membership |

Assembly names committee chairmen, membership

Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, has named her committee chairmen for the 2009 Legislature, including three from northern Nevada.

Bonnie Parnell, D-Carson City, will return as head of the Education Committee. Parnell, now entering her fourth and final term, is a retired Carson City school teacher. She has chaired Education since the 2005 session.

While Reno Democrat Sheila Leslie was replaced as chairwoman of Health and Human Services, the new chairwoman is Debbie Smith of Sparks. Leslie retains her position as Majority Whip and the title of vice chairwoman of the Ways and Means Committee.

The third northerner, Bernie Anderson of Sparks, will return as head of Judiciary, although with a reduced scope of duties since Buckley and the Democratic caucus decided to break the committee into two panels. Anderson will chair the Judiciary Committee while William Horne, D-Las Vegas, will be chairman of the Corrections, Parole and Probation Committee.

But the panels will still have the same members with Judiciary meeting Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Corrections meeting Tuesday and Thursday.

Three committees will have new chairmen. In addition to Horne and Smith, Marcus Conklin of Las Vegas will be in charge of Commerce and Labor. He was vice chairman in 2007.

Buckley is heading into her second session as speaker. Anderson was named Speaker Pro Tem and John Oceguera of Henderson will return as Majority Leader with Conklin as his assistant.

In the Senate, only one northern remains with the title of committee chair ” Bernice Mathews of Sparks, who is co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, said that isn’t because of discrimination against northern Senators by the incoming Democratic leadership.

“Bernice is the only northern Democrat in the Senate,” he said.

Morse Arberry of Las Vegas returns as chairman of Ways and Means.

Other chairmen named by Buckley on Wednesday include Ellen Koivisto in Elections, Procedures, Ethics and Constitutional Amendments, Marilyn Kirkpatrick in Government Affairs, Jerry Claborn in Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining, Kathy McClain in Taxation and Kelvin Atkinson in Transportation.

– Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.