Nevada Policy Adds Seven Dual-Serving Legislators to Lawsuit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                         

Jan. 2, 2023

CONTACT: Kevin Dietrich (702) 720-5340;


Nevada Policy Adds Seven Dual-Serving Legislators to Lawsuit

Nevada Policy’s efforts to enforce the constitutional separation of powers doctrine continues full steam ahead, with a just-filed motion to include seven newly elected state legislators to the lawsuit.

The just-elected legislators appear to have retained their employment in the executive branch of government, which violates the constitutional prohibition that forbids legislators from “exercising any functions” related to the other two branches of government.

Originally filed in July 2020, the lawsuit has already produced some notable victories. In April 2022, Nevada Policy obtained a unanimous state Supreme Court victory that allows all citizens to bring constitutional separation of powers challenges without having to satisfy the traditional standing requirements.

The issue of standing (discussed in more detail here) has, for more than 70 years, blocked this issue from being heard by the state’s highest court.

This landmark ruling meant that we had finally cleared the path towards obtaining a definitive ruling on the separation of powers issue, with our ongoing lawsuit asking the court to follow its binding precedent and the plain text of the doctrine to declare that the Nevada Constitution forbids government employees from simultaneously serving in the Nevada Legislature.

Perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, two of the most prominent dual-serving legislators, Clark County prosecutors Nicole Cannizzaro and Melanie Scheible, both of whom served concurrently as state senators, have already resigned their employment in the executive branch.

Consequently, there are no longer any prosecutors simultaneously serving as state legislators, which is one small, but important, step towards providing Nevadans with a legislature that serves the public rather than government.

Accounting for resignations and other changes in employment, as well as Nevada Policy’s just-filed motion to add the seven newly elected legislators, there are now 11 dual-serving legislators who are the subject of our ongoing lawsuit.

Almost all the newly added dual-serving legislators are public school employees, which highlights the inherent conflicts of interest that led the Framers to bar such dual service. These dual-serving legislators necessarily undermine faith and trust in the legislative process given they will be responsible for considering whether to raise taxes to increase funding for their own employer.

Similar conflicts exist when these dual-serving legislators consider whether to approve educational reforms like school choice, which will unquestionably improve the quality of education but in a way that might undermine their professional interests, given that school choice threatens the public school system’s tax-funded, monopoly status.

The lawsuit is currently pending before Clark County District Court Judge Jessica Peterson, who is considering the Defendants’ various motions to dismiss. We are hopeful that a ruling denying all those motions will be issued in early 2023.

About Nevada Policy
Nevada Policy’s mission is to effectively promote policies that encourage free-market solutions, protect individual liberties and eliminate unnecessary governmental restrictions on the citizens and businesses of Nevada.


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