59°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Dennis Myers: Early Nevada Assembly appointment worked well

The effort by former state legislator Ed Goedhart to delay selection of an appointee to the vacant Nevada Assembly District 36 seat was not particularly objectionable.

In normal circumstances, a rush to make an appointment should be opposed.

But there is a difference when it comes to members of the Nevada Legislature. There is a little-known feature of their terms in office.

Unlike other officials in Nevada, and unlike state legislators in most other states, there is no transition for Assembly and Senate members to get ready for their service.

Their terms in office start not in January but the day after the November election. This year the election was on Nov. 6. If the governor had called a special session of the Nevada Legislature on Nov. 7, it would not have been holdover legislators who met.

It would have been the newly elected legislators. In fact, in 2004, the election was on Nov. 2 and the legislators went into special session eight days later to consider the impeachment of the state controller, so it CAN happen.

What does this mean?

A member of the Assembly once told me that his mailbox started filling up the same week he was elected. Some of his mail was from lobbyists, but it was also from community groups, legislative staffers, fellow new legislators, requests for help from residents of his district, and so on.

In other words, it was business mail. And the eventual appointee to the District 36 seat missed some of that material.

Then there are the political party caucuses at which Democratic and Republican legislators elect their leaders and – in the case of the party with the majority – committee assignments are made and committee chairs handed out.

The Democrats made those appointments last week, the same day that the three county commissions met to appoint a replacement for Dennis Hof. It would have been useful for residents of District 36 if their new assembly member had been able to prepare for that caucus if he chose, by making contact with party leaders and making his committee choices known.

In addition, there is a gathering in advance of the legislative session called pre-session, a sort of “How to be a legislator 101” course that is useful to new legislators like Greg Hafen II, and if his appointment had been delayed, his district’s interests could have been hurt by his missing it.

Ed Goedhart’s concerns were legitimate. Lame duck officials can often do real damage between an election and the ends of their terms. But in this case, District 36 was probably well served by not waiting on an appointment to the Hof vacancy.

Dennis Myers is an award-winning journalist who has reported on Nevada’s capital, government and politics for several decades. He has also served as Nevada’s chief deputy secretary of state.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
It’s not the zombie apocalypse we were promised

For years we have all watched the movies and read the books about a global pandemic that would herald the end of mankind as we know it. When the virus was first reported, I was alarmed and was very glad that the president at least stopped flights from China. What happened next still puzzles me.

COVID-19 and how residents are ignoring the self-quarantine

Some residents of Nevada ignore the call for voluntarily self-quarantining and social distancing. There are still a lot of people out in the community, and traffic on the roads is still substantial. If you make a quick trip to pick up essentials at the grocery store, you will see that stores are still being overrun by shoppers madly searching for the ever-elusive rolls of toilet paper and paper towels. Head into a big box hardware store to pick up repair parts, and shoppers fill the aisles who have no idea what social distancing means. Bored at home and seeking something productive to do, homeowners have decided to occupy their free time by tackling projects around the yard and house. Signs around the stores asking shoppers to maintain social distancing are largely ignored by many as they go about their business. Yes, you will see some residents wearing surgical face masks. You will also see some wearing homemade masks of cloth or windsocks pulled up and cover their face and nose. Some shoppers, as they navigate down crowded aisles, will move to keep at least six feet between them and other shoppers. Then there are those shoppers who crowd in on top of you as stand waiting to check out without any regard to the prominently places signs asking them to stay back at least six feet. For them and for others who are not heeding the request to stay at home and for social distancing, the COVID-19 virus is not a real threat.

By the time we notice we’re hungry, it may be too late

“As the top U.S. watermelon-producing state prepares for harvest, Reuters reports, “many of the workers needed to collect the crop are stuck in Mexico …. Without the workers, crops could rot in fields throughout the country,” starting in Florida and California where major harvests begin in April and May.

California Lottery

No one matched all five numbers and the mega number in the Wednesday, March 11 drawing of the California Super Lotto. The next jackpot will be at least $10 million.