The work of the people was supposed to commence on Friday during the 33rd Special Session of the Nevada Legislature. With less than 24 hours to prepare, the part time legislators and interested parties had to make it to Carson City to debate, review and propose legislative maps that will affect political power in the state for the next 10 years. Instead, the Assembly and Senate convened, recessed, and adjourned within 3 hours. As one lawmaker told me, “No one knows what is going on. We just got notice of the special session by a tweet from the Governor yesterday. No one has had time to review the maps. Your guess is as good as mine.”
A staffer admitted that without a Lt. Governor, the Senate is trying to “figure things out” and admitted that both Republicans and Democrats, including lobbyists and activists, had been unusually quiet.
“Put out some fake maps and gauge the reaction” the staffer stated. Around 5 pm, Republicans submitted what they considered to be fair maps, with one lawmaker stating, “Democrats think ‘swing districts’ are plus 10% Democrats. That is how they have drawn their maps. In prior years, Republicans never won by that margin so their idea of swing is only in their favor.”
On Friday, The Las Vegas Review Journal’s headline read: “Democrats now embrace gerrymandering.”
In this era of economic and political uncertainty, this dysfunction was more of a hallmark than an anomaly. During one of the numerous recesses of both chambers, I wandered towards the elevator to pull down my mask and nosh some crackers when I noticed that over half of the sitting area outside of chamber offices were roped off and closed. Half a couch was roped off “for everyone’s safety.”
“For everyone’s safety” one person can sit on half the couch.
— Megan Barth (@ReaganBabe) November 13, 2021
After tweeting this, someone in the Twitterverse photoshopped the pic to perfection:
As Elliot Malin noted:
— 𝔼𝕝𝕝𝕚𝕠𝕥 𝕄𝕒𝕝𝕚𝕟 (@ElliotMalin) November 12, 2021
There was also some chatter that Assm. Annie Black was to be censured for not wearing a mask on the Assembly floor. However, Majority Leader Jason Frierson tabled it to avoid a photo and press opportunity.
Meanwhile, plenty of press was generated for Frierson as President Joe Biden nominated him on Friday afternoon for Nevada US Attorney. This comes on the heels of Lt. Governor Kate Marshall resigning to work in the administration.
A slow and quiet day is not expected on Saturday. One staffer proclaimed, “an avalanche is coming.” The Globe will be there to cover it, even when seated on half a couch or in the roped-off gallery.
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