Today the Nevada Assembly adopted a fix-it resolution ratifying the Select Committee on the Assembly’s rules and orders. The resolution, Assembly Resolution 5, retroactively approves the rules the Select Committee adopted and the orders its chair, Majority Leader William Horne, issued pursuant to those rules at its first meeting on Monday, Feb. 11. The resolution states that the orders issued by the Select Committee’s chair and the committee’s rules “are determined to be necessary, just and appropriate to preserve order and protect the integrity and decorum of the Legislature and the legislative process and to conduct the Committee’s proceedings to consider and investigate matters within the jurisdiction of Section 6 of Article 4 of the Nevada Constitution.”
The resolution also instructs the Select Committee “to continue its proceedings to consider and investigate matters within the jurisdiction of Section 6 of Article 4 of the Nevada Constitution.” This also fixes the jurisdictional uncertainty I previously noted by essentially giving the Select Committee jurisdiction to consider and investigate any matter the Assembly could consider under article 4, section 6 of the Nevada Constitution. This is a very broad jurisdictional grant, and could include taking up the issue of Assemblyman Andrew Martin’s disputed residency, as some Republican members of the Assembly want.
This resolution is designed to create a clear record, to finally cross the T’s and dot the I’s that needed crossing and dotting, and to insulate the Assembly from possible legal challenges. Courts are generally very cautious to intrude into affairs of other branches, especially where the constitution textually commits a power to one branch. Here there is such a textual commitment because each house of the legislature is given express authority to discipline its members. But the resolution does not resolve the substantive constitutional concerns I laid out, particularly with respect to whether the Assembly can issue an order barring a person from the legislative building, much less a legislator.
As always, stay tuned.