The story of Nevada’s Assembly Republican caucus is something between soap opera and slapstick. Amid the betrayal and mistrust are too many self-inflicted blows to the groin to count.
On Thursday morning, Assemblywoman Michele Fiore was removed from leadership for the second time in about a week. But there are still six weeks before the start of the 2015 Legislature, so perhaps she’ll find her way in and out yet again. With this group, things change by the hour. The next coup is a tweet, email or radio interview away.
Some caucus chaos was to be expected in the aftermath of November’s stunning Republican sweep in Nevada — the GOP wasn’t expected to capture a majority in the Assembly. Half of the party’s 25-member majority will be freshmen. They barely know each others’ names.
But those factors are no excuse for the elevation of Ira Hansen to speaker designate despite his history of homophobic and racially insensitive comments. Or Ms. Fiore’s botched response to news stories about her IRS debts. Instead of being transparent and providing proof of her compliance, she lit up her own party. Now there’s talk that John Hambrick, Hansen’s replacement as speaker designate, might be removed and replaced with the help of Democrats at the start of the 2015 session.
This is the wrong session for distractions. Lawmakers have a rare opportunity — and just 120 days — to reform and bolster public schools and check the rising cost of government services with pension and collective bargaining overhauls. And they have a governor, Brian Sandoval, with the capital to help them get it done.
If the GOP needs an additional six weeks to get its house in order, fine. As long as they’re ready for work on Feb. 2. No one will remember this fall’s drama if lawmakers have a productive session. But if the turmoil spills into spring, no one will forget it.