‘Private’ records issue

Two more legislators have been heard from on the issue of whether legislative records are public, and whether the recently enacted Assembly Bill 496 overreaches.

Republican Assm. Glenn Trowbridge: “There are few bills that are perfect. Perhaps this is in need of adjustments.”

Republican Sen. James Settelmeyer: “It was an Assembly bill that came with no controversy, no negative votes, no opposition. So all in all it seemed OK.”

The issue arose this month when, in response to a request for copies of emails and schedules of several legislative leaders, the legislative legal staff released a lengthy explanation of why such information is off limits (“Private records,” RN&R, March 24). The explanation cited A.B. 496, a measure that was not introduced until the closing hours of last year’s legislature. The public was not given notice of two cursory hearings on the measure, which as a result waved it on through to passage.

Legislators have said they relied on legislative legal staff for information on the bill, which was given a committee introduction instead of being introduced by a legislator.

A legislator who sat on one of those committees and went along with sending it through now says that was a mistake.

“I think that if I knew it would be used to shield lawmakers from legislative inquiry, I never would have entrusted them with it,” Republican Assm. Victoria Seaman told the Associated Press.

Some legislators said the staffers were likely trying to protect the lawmakers from uncomfortable or awkward disclosures.

Organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada and the League of Women Voters have been drawn into the dispute.