Nevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks is taking a leave of absence to sort out his mental issues. The move comes on the heels of several weeks of sometimes bizarre behavior as well as the first day of the legislative session in Carson City.
In a scene reminiscent of paparazzi chasing a celebrity, the media and Brooks played cat and mouse all day on Monday, a distraction from the pomp and circumstance of the session opening.
The Democrat walked into the assembly chambers to find a hoard of waiting media. He wasn't interested in commenting, at first trying to deflect the attention to incoming Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick.
Brooks is accused of threatening to harm Kirkpatrick, which led to his arrest and a string of odd events.
"It's her day, not mine," Brooks told reporters.
With that, Brooks called on Legislative police.
"Can you get them (media) out, please?" Brooks asked.
Despite the hoopla, lawmakers, including Brooks, were sworn in.
During breaks in the session, a deal was being finalized to give Brooks a leave of absence to deal with his issues. The leave will come with pay.
"I can tell you it's not gonna take over our session. Assemblyman Brooks asked for a leave of absence to get his medical affairs in order and we granted that. It's no different than a maternity leave or other medical condition," Kirkpatrick said.
Kirkpatrick said she and Brooks actually met on Sunday to begin the process of working out his absence.
"We had a conversation with Mr. Brooks. He apologized. I accepted. We both agree our number one priority is making sure he is well and ready to work and serve Nevada residents," she said.
A committee to look into whether Brooks is mentally fit to serve in the Legislature will still be formed on Thursday.
"I assume he'll be given the opportunity to represent himself. I certainly would hope so. At the end of that, the committee will take a vote, make a recommendation to the full body – if, in fact, that's a recommendation to consider whether he's well enough to continue to serve or not," Assemblyman Pat Hickey said.
The length of the leave of absence is still being figured out.
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