Tough choices await new lawmakers

CARSON CITY — The 2011 Legislature won’t convene for another 13 months, but already it is clear that a lot of raw rookies will be deciding how the state makes up a potential $2.4 billion spending gap and reapportions the 63 legislative districts.

As it stands now, a minimum of 17 of the 42 Assembly members will be first-termers. And at least eight of the 21 senators will be newcomers — although some of them likely will be Assembly members moving over to the Senate.

“The next session is lining up to be the worst on record, and nearly half of the Legislature will be there for the first time,” said Eric Herzik, a University of Nevada, Reno, political science professor. “It makes you feel confident, doesn’t it?”

Aside from the known changes, history shows at least a couple of upsets of incumbents are likely in next year’s general election.

Herzik said the decision in 2011 whether to raise taxes or cut spending at a time when the state may still be in a recession won’t be easy for any legislator, let alone a rookie.

He said reapportionment — the redrawing of legislative district boundaries to reflect the 2010 Census — is the “most partisan of all issues.”

Both Democrats and Republicans will be seeking an advantage for their party through reapportionment. How they draw the districts could determine which party wins seats for 10 years.

Republicans still complain that Democrats, the majority at the 2001 Legislature, gerrymandered Assembly districts to ensure re-election for their party for the next decade. Democrats now hold a 28-14 membership lead in the Assembly. They hold a 12-9 edge in the Senate.

Both parties will want to ensure the districts are drawn so they will have a registration majority.

Barring a radical registration shift in the next few months, Republicans will remain Nevada’s No. 2 party, putting them at a disadvantage in reapportionment hearings.

According to the latest secretary of state records, Democrats hold an 80,000 registered voter advantage, down about 20,000 from the November 2008 election totals.

The main reason for the 40 percent turnover in the Legislature is that the constitutional amendment regarding term limits finally kicks in. Voters in 1996 passed an amendment that limits the time a legislator can serve to 12 years in each chamber.

For that reason, 17 legislators, including Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, won’t be serving at all — or at least in the same chamber — in what promises to be a contentious session.

In all, 10 Assembly members and seven senators cannot run for their current seat in 2010 because of term limits.

On top of that, seven Assembly members and two senators are giving up their seats to run for other offices, or are retiring from political life.

Sen. Warren Hardy, R-Las Vegas, already has resigned, and Assemblywoman Bonnie Parnell, D-Carson City, probably will not seek re-election.

If Gov. Jim Gibbons decides to call the Legislature into session in coming months, the Clark County Commission must name Hardy’s replacement.

Sources say former county commissioner Bruce Woodbury, a Republican whose daughter Melissa serves in the Assembly, wants Hardy’s seat, if only for a brief special session.

Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, has announced he will run in 2010 for a Clark County commission seat. If he wins, then the commission after the November election must name his replacement for the 2011 session.

One of the most contentious primaries next June could come in Clark County, where veteran Assemblyman Chad Christensen, R-Las Vegas, has decided to challenge Sen. Dennis Nolan, R-Las Vegas.

Assemblyman Lynn Stewart, R-Las Vegas, is confident that Republicans will pick up at least a couple of seats in the 2010 election.

“A lot depends on what happens with the economy during the next 11 months,” he said. “If the economy is stagnant and jobs are down, it will be bad for Nevada, but help us in the election. The Democrats in Congress aren’t helping themselves.”

Stewart counts on Republicans gaining at least two seats in the Assembly, but needs more so his party fares better in redrawing legislative district boundaries.

“The Assembly is now out of whack because of reapportionment” in 2001, he said.

Stewart said his district now has more than 90,000 residents, while city districts in Las Vegas have only 15,000.

That is because outlying districts in Clark County made big population gains in the last decade, while urban ones did not.

Under a U.S. Supreme Court decision, districts must be drawn so they are as equal in population as possible.

Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera, the likely speaker in 2011, isn’t conceding the Democrats will lose any seats.

“Certainly what happens nationally filters down to the state,” said Oceguera, D-Las Vegas. “We encouraged our legislators to be involved in their districts, to respond to their constituents. People say, ‘I am tried of all politicians, but I like mine. He is always available.'”

Of the seven Assembly members who may run for Senate seats, Oceguera noted only two are Democrats. To him, that means Republicans are more vulnerable to losing Assembly seats.

He also mentioned that seats like the one held by Republican Melissa Woodbury are in districts with a Democratic voter registration advantage.

Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert, R-Reno, however, pointed out Parnell holds a seat in a Republican-majority district that could be won by a Republican like former Secretary of State Cheryl Lau in 2010.

Herzik forsees Democrats gaining at least one seat in the Senate in 2010.

According to him, Republicans aren’t doing themselves any favors by engaging in contentious primaries like the Christensen-Nolan Senate race and one in Reno between Assemblyman Ty Cobb and Ben Kieckhefer, a former Reno newsman who now serves as spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services.

The primary battles could open the door to Democrat victories in November, he said.

In contrast, Herzik said most open seats now held by Democrats are in safe Democrat districts.

Contact reporter Ed Vogel at or 775-687-3901.

Alexa roots for Golden Knights to win Stanley Cup
Alexa, from Amazon's Echo smart speaker, is rooting for the Las Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup.
Defense attorneys wrap up closing arguments in David Copperfield civil trial
Defense attorneys wrapped up their closing arguments in David Copperfield civil trial at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas. A British tourist is suing Copperfield, his company and others claiming he suffered a traumatic brain injury after participating in an illusion in which the magician appears to make 13 people vanish. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump talks about how to pronounce "Nevada"
At the United States Naval Academy Graduation and Commissioning on May 25, 2018, President Donald Trump discusses how to pronounce "Nevada."
Amazon's Alexa Recorded and Shared a Couple’s Conversation
Amazon's Alexa Recorded and Shared a Couple’s Conversation News station KIRO 7 reported a Portland couple’s conversation was recorded and sent to one of their contacts via their Amazon Echo device. They found out when the husband’s employee called him saying, via KIRO 7 The voice-activated assistant is used by more than 60 million U.S. consumers, according to Bloomberg. But what will happen if these devices become digital spies within our homes? Daniel Kahn Gillmor, Daniel Kahn Gillmor, to Bloomberg Daniel Kahn Gillmor, to Bloomberg Amazon Inc. issued a statement that the incident in Portland is an “extremely rare occurrence,” and the company did not state whether it was a bug or due to hacking.
Neighbor talks about 15-year-old alleged shooter
Nolan Turner, 15, who lives across the street from the 15-year-old who allegedly shot and killed his father and shot his mother talks about growing up with the teen. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas teen kills dad, wounds mom before she shoots him, police say
A 15-year-old boy shot his father to death and wounded his mother in a west valley home Thursday morning before being wounded when she got a gun and returned fire, according to Las Vegas police. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers were called just after 10:45 a.m. Thursday on the 9900 block of Barrier Reef Drive, near West Sahara Avenue and South Hualapai Way. In a briefing near the scene, police said the teenager shot his dad in the head, killing him, then shot his mom, who got another gun and returned fire. They said the boy jumped a wall and ran away, but was arrested about a quarter-mile away. Both the teen and his mom were hospitalized and are expected to survive, police said. Police did not immediately identify the family members but said the man was in his early 50s and the woman was in her late 40s. K.M. Cannon/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas Native Troy Brown Jr. Preparing for NBA
Former Centennial High School player Troy Brown Jr., now 18 and one of the most accomplished high school basketball players in the history of Las Vegas, is back in his hometown preparing to play in the NBA. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Closing arguments at David Copperfield civil trial
Attorneys for British tourist Gavin Cox and MGM Resorts make their closing arguments in the David Copperfield civil trial at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Surgeon Performs Successful Rare Pancreas Surgery
Las Vegas resident Mary Duda underwent a pancreatoduodenectomy, or Whipple procedure, for her pancreatic cancer. While the grandmother of 19 recovered, her doctors say she's one of the lucky ones. Pancreatic surgery can be risky and has a high morbidity rate. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Las Vegas police explorer sentenced to 25 years to life in prison
Former Las Vegas police explorer Joshua Honea sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for sexual assault of a minor, but was allowed to remain free on bail pending appeal. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights Fans Line Up to Grab Their Conference Champions Gear
Golden Knights fans lined up at City National Arena Monday to snap up Conference Champions gear and other memorabilia the day after the Golden Knights won the Stanley Cup Conference Finals. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas-Review Journal)
Las Vegas shooting survivor has surprise reunion
Oct. 1 mass shooting survivors Taylor Stovall and Parker Gabel meet for the first time since Gabel helped the injured Stovall to an ambulance the night of the shooting. Stovall, then 17, was shot in the arm. They met Friday at the Tropicana.
Hawaii volcano presser
Talmadge Magno of Hawaii Civil Defense gives an update on the Kilauea volcano
Same-Sex Weddings on the Rise in Las Vegas
Allie and Tara Shima finally tied the knot. They've been together for five years and have both been married before. This time, they wanted something simple, quick and cheap, but it still had to feel special. The couple chose Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Courtyard Homeless Resource Center begins building in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Ward 3 Councilman Bob Coffin kicked off the demolition of buildings where the Courtyard Homeless Resource Center will be built. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Father of fallen Marine to throw out first pitch
Rich Perez, father of Rich Perez Jr. who died while serving in the Marines in Iraq, talks about throwing out the first pitch at the Las Vegas 51s baseball game on Memorial Day. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Yanny" or "Laurel" hearing test has gone viral
'Yanny' or 'Laurel?' This Hearing Test Has Gone Viral This hearing test has gone viral on social media with some hearing "Yanny" while others swear hearing "Laurel." The voice is actually saying "Laurel," but the pitch was changed, causing some to hear "Yanny."
LVMPD Briefs on Year's Sixth Officer-Involved Shooting
Las Vegas police have identified the officer who shot a shovel-wielding woman on Saturday as 23-year-old Ondre Wills.
Police release body camera footage of shovel-wielding woman
Las Vegas police identified the woman they said threatened neighbors with a skillet Saturday night. Officer Ondre Wills, 23, shot at Sommer Richards, 34, multiple times on Big Sur Drive, near Nellis Boulevard and Desert Inn Road. Police responded to the area after receiving reports that the woman was armed with a shovel. Police said the woman chased neighbors and a security guard. Wills got between Richards and the others and repeatedly told her to drop the shovel. The woman instead turned and moved toward a person who was standing nearby before the officer fired shots. Police said she bit another officer as he attempted to render aid. Richards remains in serious but stable condition.
College of Southern Nevada Graduates 2017-18 Class
The College of Southern Nevada's graduation ceremony was held at the Thomas & Mack Center Monday. The 2017-18 class was the institution's largest in history. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro looking for suspect in bank robbery.
On Jan. 22, a man robbed a bank in the 8700 block of West Sahara Avenue.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee at opening of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, at opening ceremony of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, speaks about the violence in Gaza. (Debra J. Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Supreme Court strikes down law banning sports betting outside Nevada
The Supreme Court has overturned a federal ban on sports gambling. States other than Nevada will be allowed to provide bookmaking and betting at casinos and race tracks. Justice Samuel Alito said Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, “each State is free to act on its own.” The vote was 6-3. One research firm estimates that 32 states will likely offer sports betting within five years.
Westcare Clinic Crucial to Las Vegan's Addiction Recovery
Christian Hunt, 21, was sent to Westcare in September after he ended up on drugs and in the hospital. If it weren't for the nonprofit's Community Triage Center, Hunt said he would still be using drugs. Instead, he's been sober for six months, and stopped using methamphetamines seven months ago. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Foundation Provides Full Rides for Clark County Students
Somewhere along the banks of the Ohio River in Owensboro, Kentucky, a group of students from Sin City are pursuing a higher education. Feature on the 38 Clark County students that the Rogers Foundation has given full rides to for Kentucky Wesleyan College. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Flames engulf house in Henderson
Clark County firefighters battled a house fire early Friday morning in Henderson. The house, located near Volunteer Boulevard and Executive Airport Drive, was fully engulfed in flames about 2 a.m. Shifting winds sent massive plumes of smoke across the southern Las Vegas Valley sky. As of 3 a.m. , the cause of the fire was not known and no injuries were reported.
Harvey Weinstein’s Estranged Wife Speaks Out for First Time
Harvey Weinstein’s Estranged Wife Speaks Out for First Time Georgina Chapman was profiled for 'Vogue’s' June issue, speaking on her estranged husband for the first time since he was accused of sexual assault in October. Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Chapman, who has two children with Weinstein, also said she has been seeing a therapist and that has helped her move forward. Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Read the full profile on Chapman in Vogue’s June issue or online at
Bark-Andre Furry the dog is a Vegas Golden Knights hockey fan
The furriest fan of the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights is growing into a social media sensation. Bark-Andre Furry the Jack Russell terrier has thousands of followers on Twitter and Instagram. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspect Sought In Robbery Attempt
Attorney Gloria Allred on case against Benjamin Sparks
Attorney Gloria Allred is representing the victim in a "sex slave" case against GOP political consultant Benjamin Sparks.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like