(Katelyn Newberg and Bill Dentzer | Las Vegas Review-Journal) – As the state pulls back from the most stringent of pandemic-driven restrictions on public gatherings, Republican lawmakers in both houses have been agitating for the currently-closed legislative building to be reopened to the public.
They did so again on the Assembly floor Tuesday, when Assemblywoman Annie Black, R-Mesquite, used her floor remarks to outline the reasons for reopening then made a snap motion for the body to vote on reopening.
That motion was denied.
“Local governments are opening, businesses are open. It is time the Legislature was open to the public,” Black said ahead of her motion. “If it is safe to allow people from across the world into our casinos, it is safe to allow people into this building.”
The Legislature has conducted committee hearings and other business remotely, with those seeking to testify in committee calling in to virtual gatherings. Lawmakers, staff, the media, and others who work in the building began receiving vaccinations last week for COVID-19 ahead of the expected eventual reopening.
Assemblyman Steve Yeager, D-Las Vegas, acting as speaker on Tuesday, ruled Black’s motion out of order, and in his own floor remarks defended the existing rules.
“The safety of those in this building, whether they be members or whether they be staff, is and will continue to be first and foremost in the decision making process about if and when this building opens,” Yeager said just before the Assembly adjourned.
“I also like to say that this legislative process perhaps has never been more open to the public, than it is now. We have people calling in from all over the state to participate in these meetings that typically is not an option that’s available.”