Assemblyman William Horne, majority leader
Assemblywoman Dina Neal
Members of the Nevada Assembly made history when they expelled a legislator for the first time ever. Assemblyman Steven Brooks, who has had several run-ins with the law and has been detained for psychiatric evaluation, no longer has his seat representing North Las Vegas. Majority Leader and Assemblyman William Horne tells KNPR why he voted to expel Mr. Brooks. His colleague, Assemblywoman Dina Neal, explains why she would have preferred suspension. Meanwhile, Mr. Brooks continues to unravel, arrested near Barstow, Cal. after a high-speed chase.
Assemblyman Lynn Stewart served on the special committee that recommended Brooks expulsion.
“We took this very seriously. All seven of us on the special committee, we know Mr. Brooks, we served with him at least in one session and in the 2011 session when he was first elected. He was a very effective, very congenial individual. I think everyone got along with him,” said Stewart.
Brooks was arrested near Barstow, California Thursday night. According to the Las Vegas Sun, the counts against Brooks include eluding law enforcement while driving recklessly, resisting or impeding a law enforcement officer, throwing objects at a vehicle with the intent to do harm and injuring or attempting to injure a dog or horse used by law enforcement.
Brooks’ erratic behavior has grabbed headlines since mid-January, when police arrested him for allegedly threatening Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkaptrick. One week later, authorities detained him for psychiatric evaluation after they found him wielding a sword at a relative’s house. He also faces felony charges related to a domestic disturbance in early February.
Steven Brooks has been banned from the legislative building since February 11. In a KNPR interview, Jon Ralston said that Brooks is unfit to serve, but expelling the assemblyman could provoke a federal lawsuit.
According to Assemblyman Stewart the decision to expel Brooks was “heart-rending.”
“It was an agonizing thing. I don’t know if you heard the vote – the Speaker broke down in tears, her voice choked up. That was genuine, and we all felt that,” said Stewart.
“I hope that now that he doesn’t have this burden on him, all the pressure of the press, the media that he’ll be able to relax, get some treatment, and get his life back in order. I think he’s always been a decent guy and I think he’s got a lot of potential.”