March 18, 2019
It was Day 39 of the Nevada State Legislature when a second state lawmaker resigned from their position, this time a Northern Nevada Assemblyman, Mike Sprinkle (District 30, Sparks). Sprinkle resigned immediately March 14 because of “growing sexual harassment claims against me” according to a statement he issued that day. Nevada Governor Sisolak also issued a statement shortly thereafter saying he was “profoundly disgusted and outraged by Sprinkle’s reported abuse and misconduct”. The process to replace Sprinkle has begun by the Washoe County Commission. It was only a week earlier when the Senate was shocked by news of the immediate resignation of Senator Kelvin Atkinson (SD 4, Las Vegas) who left amid allegations of misappropriation of campaign funds. He pled guilty to one count of wire fraud after admitting to taking around $250,000 for personal expenses, and will be sentenced in July. It has been a controversial start for the 80th Session of the Nevada State Legislature, but they are continuing with business. The Clark County Commission appointed Atkinson’s replacement March 15. Marcia Washington, a former president of the Nevada State Board of Education will represent SD 4 until the term ends in 2020. Washington was sworn in Monday, March 18.
March 18 was also the scheduled deadline for introduction of bills from legislators, however in light of two resignations from leaders in the Assembly and the Senate, a Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR4) was introduced Monday to allow more time for Atkinson’s and Sprinkle’s bills to be “re-allocated” to other representatives to carry their bills. This emergency measure gives both houses until March 29th to introduce those measures. As of this writing, there are 350 bills to be considered in the Assembly and 358 in the Senate.
The Privacy Bill (SB 224) remains high among the 50 most commented on bills that the legislature is tracking under the “Share Your Opinion” page, and currently has a total of 118 comments, with the majority favoring it. It currently ranks 13th among the 50 most commented bills. A work session on this bill that provides for the confidentiality of certain information in the records and files of the public employees’ retirement system is the next step before the bill lands before the full Senate for a vote. Once it’s made its way through the Senate, it will go to the Assembly Committees and ultimately a final vote there. Another bill, Senate Bill 287, came out Friday, March 15, and a brief description is as follows: “revises provisions governing public records” So we will be following that bill as well.
RPEN continues to have a strong presence at the Legislature, so you don’t have to! The public employee coalition continues to meet on a weekly basis to talk over our mutual issues and concerns. RPEN’s Lead Lobbyist/Legislative Advocate Marlene Lockard continues to be the leader of the group that includes representatives from police/fire, public school teachers, higher education, as well as other union organizations including SEIU and AFSCME.
Terri Laird, RPEN Executive Director