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Assembly leader seeks fast start for Brooks panel

CARSON CITY – Assembly Majority Leader William Horne said Friday he expects a select committee that will consider whether embattled Assemblyman Steven Brooks is fit to serve to do its work as quickly as possible.

Horne, D-Las Vegas, who had just arrived in the capital ahead of the Monday start of the 2013 legislative session, said the special panel probably won’t be formed until Tuesday so that lawmakers and their families can enjoy the opening session festivities.

“We have a lot of freshmen, and they and their families deserve a nice ceremony,” he said.

Horne, who will serve as chairman, said the committee probably will be made up of seven members. He also said it will be bipartisan. The committee members have not yet been selected.

The scope of the review is still being formulated, he said, but on Thursday he said it will investigate whether Brooks is fit to serve.

The committee will be vested with investigative powers, including the discretion to appoint and refer the matter to a special independent counsel.

Horne said he would like to forward any recommendations to the full 42-member Assembly within two weeks or less.

“We want to get it done swiftly, but efficiently and fairly, because we have a lot of other issues the state is looking towards us solving,” he said.

Whatever the recommendations are, “we’ll live with those and then we will move on with the state’s business,” Horne said.

Brooks, D-North Las Vegas, was arrested Jan. 19 and faces accusations he threatened to harm Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas.

On Jan. 25 he was taken into medical custody after a domestic incident at his grandmother’s house. He was released late Wednesday or early Thursday and told The Associated Press today in a brief phone interview that he is “lucid” and will attend the opening of the session.

Horne said the committee will meet in public and have posted agendas but might have to find a time outside the course of the normal work day to do its work.

The Legislature faces several issues, and committee schedules are being filled with hearings on bills and policy discussions on taxes and other matters.

Brooks is being notified of the creation of the committee, he said.

“He won’t be blindsided by any of this,” Horne said.

Leadership has extended several offers to Brooks through his attorney, Mitchell Posin, including the idea of a 30-day leave of absence, but Horne said the suggestions have either been ignored or rebuffed.

“The multiple requests for response we’ve sent out, most have been no response or that Mr. Brooks intends to come to Carson City and serve,” he said.

The Brooks matter “is an unusual development that this body has never had to deal with,” Horne said.

Contact reporter Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900.

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