Published Monday, Dec. 12, 2011 | 5:13 p.m.
Updated Monday, Dec. 12, 2011 | 5:28 p.m.
State Sen. Shirley Breeden will not seek a second term next year, creating a vacancy for Democrats in one of the seats that will likely determine control of the state Senate.
Breeden, D-Henderson, said Monday that her mother is in poor health and she must leave politics to take care of her. "She's my top priority," Breeden said. Running for election is a full-time job, she said, adding that it would be impossible to devote enough time to her mother and a campaign.
Senate Republicans have announced that Steve Kirk, who narrowly lost the Henderson mayor’s race, is running for the seat. Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston reported on Twitter that former Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, D-Henderson, will run for that seat.
Breeden endorsed Woodhouse.
The other race that will determine controls the state Senate, where Democrats hold an 11-10 advantage, is the race for the seat held by Sen. Allison Copening, D-Las Vegas.
Breeden was chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee during the 2011 Legislature and sponsored the bill to prohibit drivers from using cell phones while behind the wheel.
The law took effect in October but law enforcement officers could only warn motorists who were caught using their cell phones. Starting Jan. 1, a $50 fine will be imposed on the first offense, $100 on the second violation and $250 on the third and subsequence offenses.
Breeden was also a member of the Commerce, Labor and Energy Committee and the Judiciary Committee.
Sun reporter David McGrath Schwartz contributed to this report.