Nevada Senate

Last updated
Nevada Senate
Nevada Legislature
Seal of Nevada.svg
Type
Type
Term limits
3 terms (12 years)
History
New session started
February 4, 2019
Leadership
Kate Marshall (D)
since January 7, 2019
Majority Leader of the Senate
Nicole Cannizzaro (D)
since March 5, 2018
Assistant Majority Leader of the Senate
Julia Ratti (D)
since March 5, 2018
Senate Minority Leader
James Settelmeyer (R)
since November 7, 2018
Structure
Seats21
Nevada Senate.svg
Political groups
Majority
  •   Democratic (13)

Minority

Length of term
4 years
AuthorityArticle 4, Constitution of Nevada
Salary$146.90/day
(first 60 days)
per diem
(entire session)
Elections
Last election
November 6, 2018
(10 seats)
Next election
November 3, 2020
(11 seats)
RedistrictingLegislative control
Meeting place
State Senate Chamber
Legislative Building, Carson City
Website
Home

The Nevada Senate is the upper house of the Nevada Legislature, the state legislature of U.S. state of Nevada, the lower house being the Nevada Assembly. It currently (2012–2021) consists of 21 members from single-member districts. [1] In the previous redistricting (2002–2011) there were 19 districts, two of which were multimember. Since 2012, there have been 21 districts, each formed by combining two neighboring state assembly districts. Each State Senator represented approximately 128,598 as of the 2010 United States Census. Article Four of the Constitution of Nevada sets that State Senators serve staggered four-year terms. [2]

Contents

In addition, the size of the Senate is set to be no less than one-third and no greater than one-half of the size of the Assembly. [3] Term limits, limiting senators to three 4-year terms (12 years), took effect in 2010. Because of the change in Constitution, seven senators were termed out in 2010, four were termed out in 2012, and one was termed out in 2014. The Senate met at the Nevada State Capitol in Carson City until 1971, when a separate Legislative Building was constructed south of the Capitol. The Legislative Building was expanded in 1997 to its current appearance to accommodate the growing Legislature.

History

Boom and Bust Era (1861–1918)

The first session of the Nevada Territorial Legislature was held in 1861. The Council was the precursor to the current Senate and the opposite chamber was called a House of Representatives which was later changed to be called the Assembly. There were nine members of the original Council in 1861 elected from districts as counties were not yet established. [4] Counties were established in the First Session of the Territorial Legislature and the size of the Council was increased to thirteen. From the first session of the Nevada Legislature once statehood was granted the size of the Senate ranged from eighteen members, in 1864, to a low of fifteen members from 1891 through 1899, and a high of twenty-five members from 1875 through 1879. [5]

Little Federalism Era (1919–1966)

In 1919 the Senate started a practice called "Little Federalism," where each county received one member of the Nevada Senate regardless of population of said county. This set the Senate membership at seventeen which lasted until 1965–1967. The Supreme Court of the United States issued the opinion in Baker v. Carr in 1962 which found that the redistricting of state legislative districts are not political questions, and thus are justiciable by the federal courts. In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court heard Reynolds v. Sims and struck down state senate inequality, basing their decision on the principle of "one person, one vote." With those two cases being decided on a national level, Nevada Assemblywoman Flora Dungan and Las Vegas resident Clare W. Woodbury, M.D. filed suit in 1965 with the Nevada District Court arguing that Nevada's Senate districts violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and lacked of fair representation and proportional districts. At the time, less than 8 percent of the population of the State of Nevada controlled more than 50 percent of the Senate. The District Court found that both the Senate and the Assembly apportionment laws were "invidiously discriminatory, being based upon no constitutionally valid policy. [6] " It was ordered that Governor Grant Sawyer call a Special Session to submit a constitutionally valid reapportionment plan. [7] The 11th Special Session lasted from October 25, 1965 through November 13, 1965 and a plan was adopted to increase the size of the Senate from 17 to 20.

Modern Era (1967–Present)

The first election after the judicial intervention and newly adopted apportionment law was 1966 and its subsequent legislature consisted of 40 members from the Assembly and 20 members from the Senate. Nine incumbent Senators from 1965 were not present in the legislature in 1967. [8] In the 1981 Legislative Session the size of the Senate was increased to twenty-one because of the population growth in Clark County. Following the 2008 election, Democrats took control of the Nevada Senate for the first time since 1991. In January 2011, Senator William Raggio resigned after 38 years of service. [9] On January 18, 2011 the Washoe County Commission selected former member of the Nevada Assembly and former United States Attorney Gregory Brower to fill the vacancy and remainder of the term of Senator William Raggio. After the 76th Session and the decennial redistricting the boundary changes and demographic profiles of the districts prompted a resignation of Senator Sheila Leslie, in February 2012, and she announced her intention to run against Sen. Greg Brower in 2012. [10] Later in February 2012, citing personal reasons, Senator Elizabeth Halseth resigned her suburban/rural Clark County seat. [11]

Legislative Sessions

Legislative SessionParty
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
Democratic Republican
62nd Legislative Session, 196711920
63rd Legislative Session, 196911920
56th Legislative Session, 197113720
57th Legislative Session, 197314620
58th Legislative Session, 197517320
59th Legislative Session, 197717320
60th Legislative Session, 197915520
61st Legislative Session, 198115520
62nd Legislative Session, 198317421
63rd Legislative Session, 198513821
64th Legislative Session, 198791221
65th Legislative Session, 198981321
66th Legislative Session, 1991111021
67th Legislative Session, 1993101121
68th Legislative Session, 199581321
69th Legislative Session, 199791221
70th Legislative Session, 199991221
71st Legislative Session,200191221
72nd Legislative Session, 200381321
73rd Legislative Session, 2005101121
74th Legislative Session, 2007101121
75th Legislative Session, 200912921
76th Legislative Session, 2011111021
77th Legislative Session, 2013111021
78th Legislative Session, 2015101121
79th Legislative Session, 201711821
80th Legislative Session, 201913821
Latest voting share

Current session

129
DemocraticRepublican


AffiliationParty
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
Democratic Ind Republican Vacant
Begin 78th, February 201410011210
End 78th, November 2016
Begin 79th, February 201711010210
End 79th, November 20181018192
November 7, 2018 [12] 1308210
December 4, 2018 [13]
March 5, 2019 [14] 12201
March 15, 2019 [15] 13210
Latest voting share

Historical Activity of Political Parties

Socialist Party of AmericaSilver PartyPeople's Party (United States)Republican PartyNational Union Party (United States)Democratic PartyNevada Senate

Composition and Leadership of the 80th Legislative session

Presiding over the Senate

The President of the Senate is the body's highest officer, although they only vote in the case of a tie, and only on procedural matters. Per Article 5, Section 17 of the Nevada Constitution, the Lieutenant Governor of Nevada serves as Senate President. In their absence, the President Pro Tempore presides and has the power to make commission and committee appointments. The President Pro Tempore is elected to the position by the majority party. The other partisan Senate leadership positions, such as the Leader of the Senate and Minority Leader, are elected by their respective party caucuses to head their parties in the chamber. The current President of the Senate is Nevada Lieutenant Governor Kate Marshall of the Democratic Party.

Non-Member Officers

On the first day of a regular session, the Senate elects the non-member, nonpartisan administrative officers including the Secretary of the Senate and the Senate Sergeant at Arms. The Secretary of the Senate serves as the Parliamentarian and Chief Administrative Officer of the Senate and the Sergeant at Arms is chief of decorum and order for the Senate floor, galleries, and committee rooms. Claire J. Clift was originally appointed by then Republican Senate Majority Leader William Raggio. The Democratic Party took the Majority in 2008 and she was retained until 2010. [16] In August 2010, then Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford appointed David Byerman as the 41st Secretary of the Senate. [17] The day after the 2014 General Election, David Byerman was removed from his position and the previous Secretary, Claire J. Clift was re-appointed. [18] Retired Chief of Police, Robert G. Milby was chosen as the Senate Sergeant at Arms for the 78th Legislative by the Republican Majority Leader. Both of the elected non-member officers serve at the pleasure of the Senate, thus they have a two-year term until the succeeding session. The Senate also approves by resolution the remainder of the nonpartisan Senate Session staff to work until the remainder of the 120 calendar day session.

80th Session Leadership

Leadership

PositionNamePartyDistrictRepresented Area
President/Lt. Governor Kate Marshall DemocraticN/AStatewide
President pro tempore Mo Denis Democratic District 2 Clark (part)

Majority Leadership

PositionNamePartyDistrictRepresented Area
Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro Democratic District 6 Clark (part)
Assistant Majority Leader Julia Ratti Democratic District 13 Washoe (part)
Chief Majority Whip Joyce Woodhouse Democratic District 5 Clark (part)
Co-Majority Whip Pat Spearman Democratic District 1 Clark (part)
Co-Majority Whip Yvanna Cancela Democratic District 10 Clark (part)

Minority Leadership

PositionNamePartyDistrictRepresented Area
Minority Leader James Settelmeyer Republican District 17 Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, Storey
Assistant Minority Leader Joe Hardy Republican District 12 Clark (Part)
Minority Co-Whip Heidi Gansert Republican District 15 Washoe (Part)
Minority Co-Whip Scott Hammond Republican District 18 Clark (Part)

Members of the 80th Senate

Districts of the Nevada Assembly are nested inside the Senate districts, two per Senate district. The final Legislative redistricting plans as created by the Special Masters in 2011 and approved by District Court Judge James Todd Russell represent the first time since statehood Nevada's Assembly districts are wholly nested inside of a Senate district. Each Assembly district represents 1/42nd of Nevada's population and there are two Assembly districts per Senate district which represents 1/21st of Nevada's population. [19]

DistrictAssembly
Districts
NamePartyResidenceAssumed officeNext election
1 1, 17 Pat Spearman Democratic North Las Vegas 20122020
2 11, 28 Mo Denis Democratic Las Vegas 20102022
3 3, 10 Chris Brooks Democratic Las Vegas 201822020
4 6, 7 Marcia Washington Democratic Las Vegas 201922020
5 21, 29 Joyce Woodhouse Democratic Henderson 201212020
6 34, 37 Nicole Cannizzaro Democratic Las Vegas 20162020
7 18, 20 David Parks Democratic Las Vegas 20082020
8 2, 5 Marilyn Dondero Loop Democratic Las Vegas 20182022
9 9, 35 Melanie Scheible Democratic Las Vegas 20182022
10 15, 16VacantLas Vegas-2-
11 8, 42 Dallas Harris Democratic Las Vegas 201822020
12 19, 23 Joe Hardy Republican Boulder City 20102022
13 24, 30 Julia Ratti Democratic Sparks 201622022
14 31, 32 Ira Hansen Republican Sparks 20182022
15 25, 27 Heidi Gansert Republican Reno 20162020
16 26, 40 Ben Kieckhefer Republican Reno 20102022
17 38, 39 James Settelmeyer Republican Minden 20102022
18 4, 13 Scott Hammond Republican Las Vegas 20122020
19 33, 36 Pete Goicoechea Republican Eureka 20122020
20 22, 41 Keith Pickard Republican Las Vegas 20182022
21 12, 14 James Ohrenschall Democratic Las Vegas 20182022

Senate Standing Committees of the 80th Session

CommitteeChairVice ChairRanking Member of the MinorityNumber of Members
Commerce and LaborPatricia SpearmanVacantJoseph P. Hardy8
EducationMo DenisJoyce WoodhouseScott Hammond7
FinanceJoyce WoodhouseDavid ParksJames A. Settelmeyer8
Government AffairsDavid ParksMelanie ScheiblePete Goicoechea5
Growth and InfrastructureYvanna CancelaChris BrooksJoseph P. Hardy8
Health and Human ServicesJulia RattiPat SpearmanJoseph P. Hardy5
JudiciaryNicole CannizzaroDallas HarrisScott T. Hammond8
Legislative Operations and ElectionsJames OhrenschallNicole CannizzaroHeidi Seevers Gansert5
Natural ResourcesMelanie ScheibleChris BrooksPete Goicoechea5
Revenue and Economic DevelopmentMarilyn Dondero LoopJulia RattiBen Kieckhefer5

Standing committees in the Senate have their jurisdiction set by the Senate Rules as adopted through Senate Resolution 1. To see an overview of the jurisdictions of standing committees in the Senate, see Standing Rules of the Senate, Section V, Rule 40.

Diversity in the Nevada Senate

African American Senators

Nevada's State Senate has included eight self-reported African-American Senators.

SenatorPartyDistrictTermNotes
Joe Neal Jr.DemocraticClark No. 41972–2004Retired
Bernice Mathews DemocraticWashoe No. 11994–2010Retired due to term limits
Maurice Washington RepublicanWashoe No. 21994–2010Retired due to term limits
Steven Horsford DemocraticClark No. 42004–2012Successfully ran for the Nevada's 4th congressional district served 2013–2015
Patricia Spearman Democratic District No. 1 2012–
Kelvin Atkinson DemocraticDistrict No. 42012–2019Resigned due to campaign finance violations
Aaron D. Ford DemocraticDistrict No. 112012–2018
Dallas Harris DemocraticDistrict No. 112018–

Hispanic/Latino Senators

Nevada's State Senate has included four self-reported Hispanic/Latino Senators.

SenatorPartyDistrictTermNotes
Bob Coffin DemocraticClark No. 31986–2010Term Limited
Successfully ran for Las Vegas City Council
Mo Denis Democratic District No. 2 2010–
Ruben Kihuen DemocraticDistrict No. 102010–2016Elected to Serve Nevada's 4th congressional district in 2016; Term started 2017
Yvanna Cancela DemocraticDistrict No. 102016–Appointed to Serve after the resignation of Ruben Kihuen

Women in the Senate

Since statehood, 37 women have served in the Nevada Senate, seven of them were originally appointed to fill a vacancy. Twenty-six out of the 34 have been Democrats, 11 have been Republicans, one was elected as a Republican but switched to Non-Partisan and chose to caucus with the Democrats.

SenatorPartyArea Represented/DistrictAssembly TermSenate TermNotes
Frances FriedhoffDemocratic Lyon County -1935–1936Appointed to fill vacancy caused by husband's resignation
Helen HerrDemocraticClark No. 31956–1960
1962–1966
1966–1976First woman elected to the Nevada Senate
Margie FooteDemocraticWashoe No. 21966–19741974–1978
Mary GojackDemocraticWashoe No. 11972–19741974–1978
Jean FordDemocraticClark No. 31972–19761978–1982Served in the Assembly as a Republican but elected to the Senate as a Democrat [20]
Sue Wagner RepublicanWashoe No. 31974–19801980–1990Elected in 1990 to Lieutenant Governor of Nevada
Helen Foley DemocraticClark No. 31980–19821982–1986
Ann O'ConnellRepublicanClark No. 5-1984–2004
Dina Titus DemocraticClark No. 7-1988–2008Successfully ran for Nevada's 3rd congressional district in 2008
Successfully ran for Nevada's 1st congressional district in 2012
Peggy O'Neill DemocraticWashoe No. 2-1989–1990Appointed to the vacancy caused by the resignation of Don Mello
served in the 1989 Special Session only
Stephanie TylerRepublicanWashoe No. 3-1990–1992Appointed to the vacancy caused by Sue Wagner's election to Lt. Governor
Diana GlombDemocraticWashoe No. 1-1990–1994
Lori Lipman Brown DemocraticClark No. 7-1992-1994Elected to fill the term of Nicholas Horn who died in office in 1992
Sue Lowden RepublicanClark No. 3-1992–1996lost reelection to Valerie Wiener in 1996
lost the 2010 GOP Senate Primary to Sharron Angle
Kathy Augustine RepublicanClark No. 71992–19941994–1998Successfully ran for Nevada State Controller in 1998
Bernice Mathews DemocraticWashoe No. 1-1994–2010First woman of color elected to the Nevada Senate
First woman of color elected to the Reno City Council in 1990
Valerie Wiener DemocraticClark No. 3-1996–2010Term Limited
Maggie Carlton DemocraticClark No. 22010–1998–2010Term Limited in the Senate
ran successfully for the Nevada Assembly
Christine MilburnRepublicanClark No. 8-7/2002 – 11/2002Appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Mark James
served in the 2002 Special Session only
Barbara Cegavske RepublicanClark No. 81996–20022002–2014Elected Secretary of State
Sandra TiffanyRepublicanClark No. 51992–20022002–2006Lost reelection to Joyce Woodhouse
Joyce Woodhouse DemocraticClark No. 5-2006–2010
2012–
Lost reelection in 2010 but successfully ran in a newly created district in 2012
Shirley Breeden DemocraticClark No. 5-2008–2012Did not seek reelection
Allison Copening DemocraticClark No. 6-2008–2012Did not seek reelection
Elizabeth Halseth RepublicanClark No. 9-2010–2012Resigned mid-term
Sheila Leslie DemocraticWashoe No. 11998–20102010–2012Resigned mid-term to challenge Greg Brower in 2012, subsequently lost
Patricia Spearman Democratic District 1 -2012–
Debbie Smith DemocraticDistrict 132000–2002
2004–2012
2012–2016Elected to fill the unexpired term of Sheila Leslie
Died in office
Patricia FarleyIndependentDistrict 8-2014–In 2016, Patricia Farley switched her party affiliation from Republican to Non-Partisan and announced that she would caucus with the Democratic Party
Becky Harris RepublicanDistrict 9-2014–2017Resigned mid-term when appointed chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board
Julia RattiDemocraticDistrict 13-2016–
Nicole CannizzaroDemocraticDistrict 6-2016–
Heidi GansertRepublicanDistrict 152004–20102016–
Yvanna CancelaDemocraticDistrict 10-2016–
Marilyn Dondero LoopDemocraticDistrict 82008–20142018–
Melanie ScheibleDemocraticDistrict 9-2018–
Dallas HarrisDemocraticDistrict 11-2018–Appointed to fill the seat of Aaron Ford

LGBT Senators

Nevada's State Senate has included five out LGBT Senators.

SenatorPartyArea Represented/DistrictAssembly TermSenate TermNotes
David Parks DemocraticDistrict 71996–20082008–Term Limited in the Assembly
Successfully ran for Senate in 2008
Lost a Primary Election to succeed Rory Reid on the Clark County Commission in 2010, remained in the Senate
Patricia Spearman Democratic District 1 -2012–Defeated sitting Senator John Lee in a Democratic Primary [21]
Kelvin Atkinson [22] DemocraticDistrict 42002-20122012-2019Replaced Steven Horsford (D, NV4) who ran for Congress in 2012
Melanie Scheible DemocraticDistrict 9-2018–
Dallas Harris DemocraticDistrict 11-2018–

Past composition of the Senate

See also

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References

  1. "Nevada State Senate - 2011 Districts" (PDF). Legislative Counsel Bureau. January 6, 2012.
  2. "Nevada Constitution". Legislative Counsel Bureau. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  3. "Nevada Constitution". Legislative Counsel Bureau. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  4. "Political History of Nevada" (PDF). Nevada State Printing Office. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 15, 2012. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  5. "Political History of Nevada" (PDF). Nevada State Printing Office. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 15, 2012. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  6. Dungan v. Sawyer, 250 F.Supp. 480 (1965)
  7. Dungan v. Sawyer, 250 F.Supp. 480 (1965)
  8. "Political History of Nevada, Pages 284-286" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 15, 2012. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  9. Sen. William Raggio (January 5, 2012). "Letter to Washoe County Commission" (PDF).[ permanent dead link ]
  10. "Leslie Resigns State Senate Seat to Run in New District 15". Las Vegas Review Journal. February 15, 2012.
  11. "Republican Halseth Resigning Senate Seat". Las Vegas Review Journal. February 17, 2012.
  12. Election results. State legislators in Nevada assume office the day after the election.
  13. Democrats Tick Segerblom (District 3) and Aaron D. Ford (District 11) resigned in order to take office as Clark County Commissioner and Attorney General of Nevada, respectively. The Clark County Commission selected Democrats Chris Brooks and Dallas Harris respectively to succeed them in the Senate.
  14. Democrat Kelvin Atkinson (District 4) resigned.
  15. Democrat Marcia Washington appointed to replace Atkinson.
  16. Sean Whaley (May 25, 2010). "In Surprise Move, State Senate Majority Leader Replaces Long-Time Top Staffer". Nevada News Bureau.
  17. "Nevada Senate Majority Leader Picks Census Bureau Liaison to Serve in Top Administrative Post". Nevada News Bureau. August 18, 2010.
  18. "Claire Clift to return as Senate Secretary". Nevada Appeal. November 8, 2014.
  19. Redistricting in Nevada
  20. "Biography of Jean Ford". Women's Research Institute of Nevada. Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  21. Miller, Ross (June 12, 2012), Nevada Primary Election Results, Nevada Secretary of State, retrieved January 9, 2013
  22. Sen. Kelvin Atkinson Comes Out During Marriage Debate, Queerty, April 23, 2013, retrieved April 24, 2013

Coordinates: 39°09′44″N119°45′58″W / 39.162278°N 119.766136°W / 39.162278; -119.766136