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Clark County officials worry about losing voice in Legislature

Updated April 2, 2019 - 7:20 pm

Clark County commissioners expressed frustration Tuesday about a perceived lack of a unified message at the Nevada Legislature.

The complaints came as the 120-day biennial session nears its official halfway point on Thursday. Commissioner Justin Jones — one of three commissioners who is a former state lawmaker — said he felt he could be doing more to lobby lawmakers.

“I don’t really feel like we’re being utilized in the way that we could be to advance the cause of the county,” Jones said. “And I think part of that is because I don’t really know what the cause of the county is.”

County Manager Yolanda King said it’s been difficult for county lobbyists to get a bead on the desires of commissioners.

While the county submitted four bills it is championing, King said there are hundreds of other bills on which commissioners may have differing opinions. The commission only meets once every two weeks, making it difficult for the body to take an official position on the pending legislation.

“We don’t want to misrepresent the board of county commissioners if folks feel differently,” she said.

Commissioner Lawrence Weekly said that the board needs to identify which bills commissioners agree on and not send mixed messages to Carson City.

“I feel like we’re being picked apart right now,” he said. “We’re all over the place with different ideas and directions we’re trying to go in.”

The commission agreed at Tuesday’s meeting that they opposed Senate Bill 127, a measure that would grow the board from seven to nine members.

Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick said she would work with King to bring more bills for discussion among commissioners at their next regular meeting. The two will rank bills in importance based on their potential financial impact on the county.

However, Jones said he was worried that every day the county waits to identify its priorities will decrease the impact its lobbyists and commissioners can make.

“I am a little concerned that we’re going to be past the point of our ability to influence some of those things as a result of waiting until then,” he said.

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

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