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September 14, 2014

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David McGrath Schwartz

Story Archive

Gaming industry uses clout to fight tax increases
Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013
Gaming walks around the Nevada Legislature like the big strutting rooster, the whale in Nevada’s political swimming pool. Because it is. And with good reason. While other states and countries charge much higher fees on gambling and even collect more in taxes, Nevada’s casino-resort industry pays or collects 46 percent of the state’s general fund, by its own measure. It’s a huge portion of the state’s funding, by just about anyone’s measure.
Brooks attempted to buy gun in Sparks; officials reviewing whether to approve sale
Friday, Feb. 22, 2013
Troubled Assemblyman Steven Brooks tried to buy a gun at a Sparks sporting goods store Thursday. The Nevada Department of Public Safety is conducting a background check to determine whether to approve the sale.
Washoe County schools seeks end run around supermajority rule for taxes
Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013
A Washoe County school maintenance funding bill could reshape the legislative tax debate this year, providing a potential roadmap to circumventing the requirement that a two-thirds majority of lawmakers pass tax increases.
Reid on 2016 re-election bid: 'Sure, why not?'
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013
Senator Harry Reid said he would run for re-election in 2016, even as he praised the most potent potential Republican contender.
Addressing Legislature, Reid lauds Sandoval, touts renewable energy
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid praised Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, dissed a Democratic rising star’s bill and called on the Legislature to go after NV Energy to spur renewable energy projects in a speech Wednesday to the Nevada Legislature.
Sandoval's energy office seeks to expand green building tax rebate program
Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013
The state’s office of energy wants Nevada lawmakers to expand a property tax rebate program for green buildings, allowing rehabilitation projects of older buildings to qualify for the tax break.
Nevada lawmakers hold policy hearings in private
Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
In a glaring example of how much of the public’s business gets heard in private, Democratic lawmakers met behind closed doors with lobbyists from both sides of the construction defect debate on Thursday night.
Police presence doubled, panic buttons installed at Legislature in wake of Brooks saga
Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013
Panic buttons have been installed on some desks at the Nevada Legislature and the number of police officers patrolling the third floor of the building have doubled to monitor Assemblyman Steven Brooks.
Twitter debates: Do Nevada lawmakers make McDonald's wages?
Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013
Assemblyman Steven Brooks, D-North Las Vegas, said Friday — before he was arrested a second time — that he would take a three-week leave of absence from the Legislature to deal with a medical condition. During that time, he will get
his salary and per diem, legislative staff said Monday. Fair or not? A debate on that very subject broke out on Twitter last week.
Beware of unintended consequences as Legislature begins work
Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013
Some months after Nevada legislators have packed up and gone home, there will almost assuredly be an “oh no” moment, though someone will likely use an actual expletive.
Brooks' public behavior grows more erratic
Friday, Feb. 8, 2013
The first two days of the legislative session, embattled Assemblyman Steven Brooks publicly conducted himself in a manner reasonably close to that of any other legislator. That changed Thursday.
Brooks says he is taking a leave of absence from Assembly
Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013
Embattled Assemblyman Steven Brooks said today he’s taking a three-week leave of absence for an unspecified medical procedure but that he would return.
Nevada policy often debated, decided in private meetings
Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013
Do the bulk of the Nevada Legislature's decisions happen in public committee meetings or on the legislative floor? Or do they happen in back rooms closed to the public, and even elected lawmakers? If you have to ask those questions, you haven’t been to Carson City.
Democrats give Hambrick 'bad-boy office' by the bathroom
Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013
With Democrats in control of the Legislature, the “bad-boy office” is traditionally used as a sort of punishment to those Republicans on the outs with leadership.
Brooks says he won’t take leave from Nevada Legislature
Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013
Troubled Assemblyman Steven Brooks, D-North Las Vegas, intends to serve in the Legislature this session, scuttling a potential deal that would have had him take a leave of absence.
First day of Legislature is festive, but who will be smiling on Day 120?
Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013
Opening day of the Legislature is usually the happiest. But what happens 119 days later, in the hours just before the Legislature adjourns sine die and lawmakers go home for two years?
Never mind the cameras outside the men's room; hope springs at Nevada Legislature
Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013
Here’s a truism of life, and maybe it’ll apply to politics: It’s harder to throw your rival under the bus when you’ve seen their cute kids, their significant other, their mother or their grandmother. So the Assembly and Senate floors on the opening day Monday were filled with families and the gurgling laughter, sometime screeching, of little ones.
New Senate Democratic leader tearfully remembers father in opening speech
Monday, Feb. 4, 2013
Sen. Mo Denis became the first Hispanic majority leader in Nevada legislative history Monday, as he gave a tearful tribute to his late father and promised to focus on jobs, education and the state’s tax structure.
Brooks to take leave of absence, avoiding spectacle on Legislature's first day
Monday, Feb. 4, 2013
Embattled Assemblyman Steven Brooks will be sworn in today in Carson City and then take a leave of absence, potentially diffusing a distracting spectacle on the Legislature’s opening day.
All you need to know about the 77th Legislature convening today
Monday, Feb. 4, 2013
The 2013 Legislature starts today: the odd-year 120-day sprint when the state’s 63 lawmakers and the governor converge on Carson City to determine the direction of the state. Theoretically, at least.
Schwartz: North-south funding at the center of session
Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013
The teachers union’s education initiative really changed the dynamics of the session.
Partisan loyalties, personal ambitions to complicate legislative compromise
Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013
Partisan philosophies and personal ambitions are at play in each of the Legislature's four caucuses.
Nevada lawmakers may stick to status quo in quest to play nice
Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013
The greatest challenge facing the Legislature as it is set to begin on Monday is the possibility that little will actually happen.
A look at three ways the Legislature can handle the margins tax petition
Friday, Feb. 1, 2013
The Education Initiative, upheld unanimously by the Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday, has thrust the tax debate front and center less than a week before the 2013 legislative session begins. The Supreme Court decision doesn’t end the fight. Instead, it requires lawmakers to engage in it.
With staff changeover, Sandoval administration loses ties to Legislature
Friday, Feb. 1, 2013
Gov. Brian Sandoval came into the last session flanked by two seasoned veterans of Carson City. But now both are gone, leaving a mostly new crop of players in charge.
Nevada Legislature’s former director to join R&R Partners
Monday, Jan. 28, 2013
The Nevada Legislature’s former longtime director joined the state’s most powerful lobbying and government relations firm on Monday, where he will be R&R Partners’ director of public policy.
Brooks situation 'festers' as legislative leaders avoid dealing with it
Friday, Jan. 25, 2013
The bizarre drama surrounding Brooks has become a major distraction that threatens to overwhelm the start of the 120-day legislative session, which will be gaveled to order on Feb. 4. And Democratic leadership have yet to come out with a plan on how to deal with it.
State senator: Nevada mental health patients can still buy guns
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013
Nevada mental health patients involuntarily committed to state psychiatric hospitals are rarely being added to a federal database that would restrict them from purchasing firearms, a state senator said Thursday.
Brooks drama escalates as lawmakers begin tackling governor's budget
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013
The Nevada Legislature turned into bizarre drama on Wednesday, with Assemblyman Steven Brooks trying to sneak in and out of the building — wearing a hooded sweatshirt and hobbling with a cane — and apparently engaging the protection of the Las Vegas Constable’s office.
With heavy police presence, Brooks arrives at Legislature
Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013
Assemblyman Steven Brooks, accused of threatening to "do in" the Democratic leader of the Assembly, arrived in Carson City with a heavy police presence today, spending less than an hour holed up with legislative police and staff before leaving the Legislature.
Mounting fears over armed Nevada lawmaker's mental state preceded arrest
Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013
About 3 p.m. Saturday, State Sen. Kelvin Atkinson received a chilling telephone call. Assemblyman Steven Brooks, a fellow North Las Vegas Democrat, was driving around in his car with a gun, “and he is looking to harm” the top member of the Assembly, Marilyn Kirkpatrick, Atkinson was told, according to documents obtained by the Sun. Brooks wanted “to do in” Kirkpatrick, Atkinson told police.
Armed assemblyman was prepared for a shootout, report says
Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013
Assemblyman Steven Brooks said he was “not afraid to die” and was “willing to have a shootout with the police,” his relatives told officers before the North Las Vegas Democrat was arrested for threatening the Democratic leader.
Nevada Assemblyman accused in threat hospitalized
Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013
Nevada Assemblyman Steve Brooks, accused of threatening Democratic Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, has been hospitalized in Las Vegas for digestive bleeding, according to his lawyer.
Assemblyman arrested in threat on lawmaker says he'll return to Carson City
Monday, Jan. 21, 2013
Assemblyman Steven Brooks, arrested in connection with a threat made to a fellow Democrat, is free on bail, and lawmakers are discussing the possibility of preventing him from serving this session.
Meet the Capitol's power brokers
Lobbyists play key role in making deals, protecting business interests
Monday, Jan. 21, 2013
If the press is sometimes referred to as the fourth branch of government, the fifth branch surely would be lobbyists – the paid professionals who advocate on behalf of industries, business owners, labor unions and causes large and small.
Assemblyman in jail, accused of threatening fellow lawmaker
Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013
A Democratic assemblyman is in jail, arrested for threatening Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, North Las Vegas Police said Sunday morning. Steven Brooks, 40, was arrested with a loaded gun after threatening to shoot Kirkpatrick, a source said.
Sandoval plays Scrooge McDuck with his political capital
Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013
Gov. Brian Sandoval is rich in political capital, a favorite with both political donors and the public. But when it comes to spending it, he’s a miser.
Sandoval's budget boosts some social services, falls short on others
Friday, Jan. 18, 2013
The services the state provides to the poor and disabled would make “significant progress” under Gov. Brian Sandoval’s budget, the director of the state’s Department of Health and Human Services said.
Optimistic Sandoval touts budget, Nevada's prospects; Democrats say agenda falls short
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013
Gov. Brian Sandoval struck a moderate and optimistic tone in his second State of the State speech on Wednesday night, as he presented a $17.6 billion proposed budget for the next two years to the 2013 Legislature.
Governor presents mostly status quo budget
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013
Gov. Brian Sandoval proposed a mostly status quo budget today that keeps up with an expected flood of Nevadans getting health care through the state and has small, targeted bumps in funding for early education initiatives.
Sandoval kicks off re-election bid with State of the State, budget
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013
If there was any doubt to the political undertones of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s State of the State address, the Democratic Governor’s Association dispelled it with a scathing release blaming Sandoval for a “lack of leadership” and failing to turn around the state’s economy.
Lobbyists sit through ethics training in Carson City
Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013
For the first time, training in ethics and policy is mandated for the lobbyists who will descend on Carson City in February for the biennial romp through taxes, spending and state law. But those who have been in the business know the tricks around some of the laws.
The state of our state? In a slow climb out of recession
Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
Nevada’s hard fall from its peak seems to be over. The ugly years of shuttered businesses, massive layoffs and relentless cuts in education and government services are, for the most part, past. But if this is the tenor of the state’s recovery, it will be a long and slow slog toward economic health, an improved education system and a government that doesn’t struggle to take care of the state’s neediest. Gov. Brian Sandoval is set to deliver his State of the State address on Wednesday, the chief executive’s assessment and vision for the state delivered every two years, before the Legislature meets.
Leslie challenges lawmakers to force corporations to 'pay their fair share'
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013
A liberal former legislative leader eviscerated the state’s political system on Wednesday, saying it is ruled by “oligarchs” and arguing that the state’s corporate, gambling and mining interests need to pay more in taxes.
State approves $6 million contract to publicize health insurance exchange
Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013
A state board approved a $6 million marketing and branding contract for the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange today to generate awareness of the state-based program to help individuals buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Nevada Democrats still afraid of the 'T-word'
Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013
Less than a month before the Legislature meets, Democratic leaders are once again approaching the tax issue cautiously, creating a mushy contour for a tax debate that has stretched more than a decade.
Letter to state GOP caucus: You have a 'gender gap problem'
Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013
In a letter highlighting the party’s recent difficulties with female voters, a group of Republican women has accused state Senate Republican leader Michael Roberson of sidelining the caucus’s only woman.
Two Nevada lawmakers say arming school personnel worth considering
Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012
Nevada conservatives cherish the Second Amendment, but they hate taxes. So the idea of putting armed security in every U.S. school, proposed by the National Rifle Association in response to the deadly school shooting in Connecticut, has fallen flat among Nevada's Republicans, in part because of the cost.
How much money do state agencies really need to operate?
Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012
When Gov. Brian Sandoval’s administration relented to public pressure and released agencies’ full budget requests, the total was stunning — $419 million. Is that total a pie-in-the-sky wish list or what agencies really need to operate?
Brothel lobbyist on quest for 'great white whale': legal prostitution in Vegas
Friday, Dec. 21, 2012
The brothel lobbyist always rings twice, George Flint explained as he shambled up the walkway to the Sagebrush Ranch, a scattering of bawdy houses in a cul-de-sac just 10 minutes from the Legislature.

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