Las Vegas Sun

July 29, 2014

Currently: 96° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Legislature 2013:

Brooks’ public behavior grows more erratic

Image

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Assemblyman Steven Brooks sits alone after a floor session Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 during the 2013 legislative session in Carson City. Brooks announced during the session that he would take a leave of absence to address health issues.

Assemblyman Steven Brooks - Feb. 7, 2013

Assemblyman Steven Brooks hugs Assemblyman Pat Hickey before a meeting Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 during the 2013 legislative session in Carson City. Launch slideshow »

2013 Legislative Session - Assemblyman Brooks

Assemblyman Steven Brooks is sworn in along with the rest of the assembly on the first day of the 2013 legislative session Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 in Carson City. Launch slideshow »

The first two days of the legislative session, embattled Assemblyman Steven Brooks, D-North Las Vegas, publicly conducted himself in a manner reasonably close to that of any other legislator.

A suit and tie replaced the hoodie and sunglasses he wore on his first arrival in Carson City after his arrest on allegations he threatened Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick.

He spoke softly but coherently when giving a brief floor statement along with the rest of his colleagues on opening day.

He politely deflected reporters’ questions, saying very little about his arrest or his impending expulsion hearings.

If it weren’t for the media and legislative police tracking his every move, one might not notice any difference between him and his colleagues at all.

That started to change Thursday, 12 hours after his fellow Democrats announced they had banished him from their caucus. Indeed, the erratic behavior that helped lead to his ouster from the caucus began to emerge.

“I’m the man everybody seems to want to talk to, so I guess I better start talking,” he called out to a Sun reporter who approached him on the Assembly Floor on Thursday. “What’s your question?”

“What do you think about your colleagues' decision to kick you out of the caucus?” the reporter asked.

“It’s the dumbest thing they’ve ever done!” he said.

Then he reversed himself.

“No, no. Don’t say that. Don’t say that. I love them still. I’m the only true Democrat standing.”

Asked if he would caucus with Republicans instead, Brooks responded: “Why would I do that? I just like to fight for my Second Amendment rights. Other than that, I stand alone. Only God stands with me.”

The Democrats’ decision to boot Brooks from their caucus means he won’t be a part of private discussions over party strategy, floor votes and bill introductions. If he doesn’t take a leave of absence, he still will be allowed to take his seat on the floor and on his committees.

“The caucus allows us to have private conversations on work we want to do. We are able to speak freely in a comfortable environment,” Assembly Majority Leader William Horne said. “We believe expelling Mr. Brooks is beneficial for both us and Mr. Brooks.”

Horne added that Brooks is “not an appropriate member for our caucus.”

The tension surrounding Brooks is growing. The Assembly sergeant-at-arms aggressively worked to keep reporters away from Brooks on Thursday, saying he needed his privacy.

At one point, Brooks decided he would take a select few reporters to his office for an impromptu press conference, allowing a Sun reporter, an AP reporter and a Review-Journal columnist to tail him upstairs.

When he got to his office, he closed the door and his assistant announced he would not be commenting.

A 3 p.m. press conference he promised never occurred.

Brooks displayed similar indecision over whether to take a leave of absence — dissembling that helped lead to the caucus decision to oust him.

At several points over the past few days, Brooks promised to sign papers for the leave. When the papers arrived, he refused to sign.

He continued showing up to work, then announced on the Assembly Floor on Thursday he would take a three-week leave of absence. Yet he still hasn't signed the papers.

No one is sure if he really means it this time.

"I'm not surprised by anything at this point," Horne said.

Amid the back-and-forth, Assembly leaders pressed ahead with the formation of a select committee to consider whether Brooks is fit to serve in the Legislature.

The seven-person committee of four Democrats and three Republicans will convene in the next couple of weeks. Horne said the criteria they will use to determine his fitness for duty is still being developed but will include “ethical questions” and attendance at meetings.

A special counsel will be appointed to present evidence to the committee, which will hold public meetings. Brooks will be allowed to testify and will be given due process, Horne said.

The committee will make a recommendation to the full Assembly, which will vote on whether to expel him. If he is expelled, the Clark County Commission will appoint a replacement.

Horne said the committee will not focus on the events that led to Brooks' arrest on Jan. 19. He was arrested on suspicion of threatening Kirkpatrick and was found with a gun and 40 rounds of ammunition in his car.

A week later, Brooks was detained by police for a psychiatric evaluation and spent five days in a Las Vegas hospital.

Horne said the arrest “brought to light a whole bunch of things,” prior behavior that will be the focus of the committee’s investigation. He did not provide additional details.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 9 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. He's a liberal Democrat. Is anybody shocked?

  2. @lovinglife
    I'm not at all shocked at your ignorant comment..
    The man is obviously sick and political party has nothing to do with it.

  3. @chuck333
    How do you figure that ?

  4. The man is obviously mentally ill. However, his behavior is unacceptable and should not be played out in the Assembly. Our representative have more to do than waste time on this guy. Let's move past this.

  5. Typical republican with a democrat title.

  6. I don't know. Assemblyman Brooks certainly seems saner than some of the commenters here. Of course, even the dead are saner than the right-wingers here.

  7. @Michael Green

    I couldn't have said it better.

  8. @Michael Green

    And yet, people just like YOU voted for this guy to represent YOU. Who is more of a fool, the fool or the fool's fool?

  9. No I'm not going , oh ok I'll take a leave, nnnnoooo wait a minute I'm staying. Shheeeeeez would this guy just get some help and go sit in the corner.