CARSON CITY — Assembly Republicans were caught with egg on their faces Thursday when they voted against a bill that they wanted to support.
All 15 Republicans voted against Assembly Bill 331 that calls for water suppliers, such as the Southern Nevada Water Authority, to encourage conservation by establishing prices for water that induce users to cut down on water use.
During hearings, critics of the Water Authority’s pricing policies sought to mandate high water rates to reduce consumption in the Las Vegas Valley. The approved bill only “encourages” water suppliers to implement water pricing policies that reduce consumption.
The bill passed through the yes votes of all 27 Democrats.
“What happened, honestly, is we got our notes mixed up,” said Assembly Minority Leader Garn Mabey, R-Las Vegas. “We made a mistake. We meant to vote for the bill.”
Mabey said he hopes the bill can be brought back to the Assembly for another vote Friday. But under legislative rules, a legislator who voted on the prevailing side on the bill would have been required to ask for reconsideration Thursday before another vote could be conducted. That did not occur.
Assemblyman James Settelmeyer, R-Garnerville, said Republicans initially opposed the bill because it mandated requirements for the state engineer. Those requirements, however, were taken out of the bill before it was approved by the Assembly Government Affairs Committee.
According to Mabey, one of his members acts as a secretary in each committee and takes notes on bills. The notes are given to all Republicans before they vote on the Assembly floor.
Somehow, he said, members received the “wrong notes.”
After being informed the Republicans got their notes mixed up, Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, asked: “Don’t they read the bills?”
“We apologize,” Mabey said in an interview.2007