Roberson bumped from panel as GOP cries foul
CARSON CITY — Senate Republicans cried foul Tuesday when the Democratic majority named six members to Nevada’s Legislative Commission, ousting the GOP minority leader in favor of an independent.
The appointment of Sen. Patricia Farley, I-Las Vegas, in place of Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, changes the dynamics of the 12-member commission that handles policy issues between regular legislative sessions.
Six members from both the Senate and the Assembly are named, and traditionally the partisan makeup has been evenly split.
In addition to Farley, the Senate members announced Tuesday include Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas; Assistant Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas; President Pro Tempore Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas; Assistant Minority Leader Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno; and Co-Minority Whip Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas.
“I think this is a sad day for this body and this institution,” Kieckhefer said on the floor.
“Historically, the Legislative Commission has functioned in a nonpartisan manner,” he said. “Converting it into a partisan body, I think, is a significant step in the wrong direction.”
Senate Co-Minority Whip James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, served in the last interim period as vice chairman and was not reappointed. He took exception to the exclusion of Roberson from the panel.
“You have never not had the minority leader on the Legislative Commission, and I find that offensive,” he said.
Atkinson conceded the change differs from the past, but added, “I think adding a member … of a third party that we have not had should serve us well.”
Kieckhefer called that a “red herring,” noting Farley, though an independent, caucuses with the Democrats.
Sandra Chereb/Review-Journal Capital Bureau