POLITICAL EYE: Heck misses one out of 948 votes

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., ended his first year in office just one vote shy from finishing at the top of his freshman class for attendance.

Heck missed roll call perfection when he failed to cast an Oct. 6 vote on an amendment to an EPA bill.

Twelve House members had perfect voting attendance in 2011, according to a New York Times analysis last week. Four first-term Republicans made all 948 roll call votes: Sandy Adams of Florida, Justin Amash of Michigan, Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee and Steve Womack of Arkansas.

Seven others including Heck missed one vote.

Heck's fumble occurred during a series of fast-paced votes on a bill aimed at limiting clean air regulation of power plants and other large industrial polluters.

Voting on the amendment, by Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., was gaveled closed after two minutes. In all, 35 members missed it.

Oddly, it appeared Heck was in the House chamber or at least nearby. He made the prior vote, three minutes earlier, and the next vote, five minutes later. At week's end, Heck's staff said it was researching the vote.

A check of voting records showed Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., missed 18 votes during the year. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., missed two of the 243 votes cast since he was sworn into office in September. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., missed six of the 297 votes cast before he moved from the House to the Senate in May.

House members missed an average 16 votes last year.

-- Peter Urban


Tracking money in Nevada politics should be a little easier this year than in years past.

That's because requirements in Assembly Bill 452, approved by the Legislature in the most recent session, went into effect Sunday .

The law calls for elected officials in the state to file campaign finance data electronically with the Secretary of State.

The information will be poured into a searchable database so voters, journalists, or anyone else interested in campaign finance information can search by donor, recipient or other categories.

Current electronic records are images of handwritten or typed forms that can be difficult to search.

"You are able to search for data right now. It is just that a lot of it is still in handwritten format," said Catherine Lu, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Ross Miller, who supported AB452. "The users are going to be able to search through different categories."

In addition to creating the searchable database, the law will pull records of local elected officials into the Secretary of State's office.

Before AB452 city and county officials could file campaign contribution and expense reports with local clerks, making it even more challenging to track money in politics.

Although the new system should make it easier to search finance data coming in this year and beyond, records from earlier years won't be plugged into the database. That means reports filed before the law went into effect will be more cumbersome to search than new records.

-- Benjamin Spillman


Henderson residents with public service aspirations might want to update their résumés.

On Tuesday the city begins to accept applications from Ward 3 residents interested in filling the vacancy created by Kathleen Vermillion, who leaves the council effective Tuesday, 2½ years after taking office.

The City Council next month will appoint her replacement. There already are two names in the hat from women who have weathered political campaigns.

Cathy Rosenfield lost to Vermillion in the June 2009 primary, but she won the right to a runoff earlier in April by totaling the second most votes on a crowded five-person ballot.

For a decade Rosenfield volunteered for the city, serving a term as chairwoman of the city's parks advisory board.

Erin Lale ran for Assembly District 29 in 2010, collecting 4.3 percent of the vote.

The Libertarian said she would bring financial common sense to the council.

Others interested in the appointment need to hurry.

The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Jan. 10, but there's a three-day weekend Friday-Sunday, leaving a five-day window to apply.

Whoever takes the seat will have to run for a full term in 2013 if they want to keep it.

-- Doug McMurdo

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau reporter Peter Urban at purban@stephensmedia.com or at 202-783-1760. Contact Benjamin Spillman at bspillman@reviewjournal.com or 702-229-6435. Contact Doug McMurdo at 702-224-5512 or dmcmurdo@reviewjournal.com.