Nevada Legislature caucuses retain leaders; incoming GOP assemblywoman defects | NevadaAppeal.com
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Nevada Legislature caucuses retain leaders; incoming GOP assemblywoman defects

By Sam Metz and Michelle L. Price AP/Report for America

Both parties will return to the Nevada Legislature with unchanged leadership in 2021, after Republicans and Democrats reelected lawmakers to top positions in the state Senate and Assembly.

Democrats in the Nevada Senate unanimously reelected Nicole Cannizzaro as their Majority Leader over the weekend after she clinched a narrow victory over Republican challenger April Becker in the cycle’s most expensive race.

Republicans in the Senate voted unanimously on Friday to keep state Sen. James Settelmeyer as minority leader. They also made Sen. Joseph Hardy Assistant Minority Leader, and Sens. Heidi Gansert and Scott Hammond co-minority whips.

In the Assembly, Democrats unanimously reelected Jason Frierson as Assembly Speaker. Republicans voted unanimously to keep Dr. Robin Titus as minority leader. Assemblyman Tom Roberts and Assemblywoman Jill Tolles will serve as co-deputy leaders. Assemblyman Glen Leavitt will be the caucus’s minority whip and Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner and Assemblyman Gregory Hafen II will serve as assistant whips.

Neither the Assembly Democratic Caucus nor the state Senate Democratic caucus responded to questions about additional leadership positions.

After the caucuses announced the leadership decision, incoming Assemblywoman Annie Black, a Republican from Mesquite, said she would not join the Republican caucus in the upcoming legislative session. Black, who unseated Republican Assemblyman Chris Edwards in the June primary, said she planned to vote according to her conservative principles, but will navigate Carson City as an independent member. Black also took issue with caucus rules she was asked to agree to, which include guidelines for speaking to the press. The guidelines, Black said, demanded caucus members not criticize each other or talk to media about caucus discussions.

“I can’t agree to that. If a fellow GOP caucus member, say, votes to raise your taxes, they’ll need to be called out for it. By name,” Black said in a press release on Wednesday.

With Black’s defection, the Assembly will be made up of 26 Democrats, 15 Republicans and one caucus-less lawmaker. Democrats will enjoy a 12-9 majority in the state Senate. To approve tax increase proposals, two-thirds of both chambers must vote in favor of them.

Metz is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.