Vegas lawmaker facing charges visits Legislature
His face obscured by a hoodie and sunglasses and ringed by several Legislative and Capitol Police, a state assemblyman charged with threatening a key state lawmaker arrived at the Nevada Legislature on Wednesday morning.Assemblyman Steven Brooks, who was arrested Saturday on charges he threatened Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, did not attend a budget review hearing being conducted in the Legislative Building. Instead, after about an hour in the Legislative police offices, he left the building, still surrounded by police, and refused to make any comments to the waiting press.Legislative Counsel Bureau Director Rick Combs said the second-term Assembly member didn’t request a police escort to and from the building, adding that police met him at the Reno airport as they do with all lawmakers who request a ride to the capital city.Combs said Brooks flew to Carson City on Wednesday morning to do his paperwork and sign a lease on his Carson City apartment for the 2013 session. But Combs said Brooks, walking with a cane and accompanied by family members, told him he wouldn’t be attending the pre-session budget hearings for the coming week because he is physically ill. He said, however, that Brooks could attend the meetings this week and next by video-conference from Las Vegas.“We are working with him to get those arrangements made,” said Combs. After his arrest and release from jail in Clark County, Brooks on Tuesday entered a Southern Nevada hospital. His lawyer and publicist said he was suffering from digestive bleeding. He was released from the hospital the next day.Combs said Brooks would not be denied access to the Legislative Building. He said a Legislative Police officer was directed to accompany Brooks to his apartment complex and then to the Reno airport later Wednesday so he could return to Southern Nevada.The initial rumor was that Brooks intended to go to the budget overview session. Kirkpatrick, also on the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, spent most of the morning in her first-floor office complex.Combs said leadership and his staff, including the police, were still making arrangements for how to handle having Brooks and Kirkpatrick on the same Assembly floor and in some of the same committee rooms during session. He said he was not aware of any protective order barring Brooks from approaching Kirkpatrick.Brooks, who like Kirkpatrick represents North Las Vegas, is accused of threatening physical violence against a public official. The arrest report obtained by the Las Vegas Sun said family members told police Brooks said he was willing to “have a shootout” with police. He had a pistol and ammunition in his possession when he was arrested.According to the Sun report, Las Vegas City Councilman Ricki Barlow first called state Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, D-Las Vegas, about the assemblyman’s comments. He then told Kirkpatrick about the alleged threat and she called police. North Las Vegas police said they received accounts of the alleged threats from several people, according to the newspaper story.Brooks, free on $100,000 bail, is to appear in North Las Vegas Justice Court on Monday. If convicted of the felony charges, he could face up to five years in prison and lose his right to hold public office. But before that, the other 41 members of the state Assembly have the option of voting to expel him from the Assembly. Expulsion would require a two-thirds vote.