Michele:

On January 2nd you wrote an open letter to me asking for a response to a number of issues you have. So as to try and keep everything in context I will post your comments italicized in light grey followed by my response.

Your reasoning that you can remove me as Majority Leader is faulty to say the least.  Following that reasoning to its logical conclusion means you could remove Assemblywoman Kirkpatrick as Minority Leader.  

That is absolutely not a logical conclusion! The minority leader is the leader of the opposition party. The Speaker is the leader of the majority party. The majority FLOOR leader garners all of its responsibility at the will of the Speaker. As far as I can tell since about 1973 (Which is as far back as I have been able to research) until as recently as 2013 the only elected position in the majority party has been the Speaker. All other majority leadership positions are appointed.

You were elected by the Assembly Republican Caucus as the Speaker-designee, not as an all-powerful potentate. 

You removed me as the Chair of the Assembly Taxation Committee and you also removed Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman and Assemblyman Brent Jones from that same committee.  According to rule 41(1) of the Assembly Standing Rules it is your prerogative to do so.  However, you also announced you were removing me as Majority Leader of the Assembly Republican Caucus and replacing me with Assemblyman Paul Anderson.

You know that the only release of committee assignments that included Victoria on the Taxation Committee is one that you sent out without my approval. I cannot remove somebody from a committee that I never put them on. You also know that Brent Jones very specifically requested to be removed from the Taxation Committee in a caucus wide email. I simply accommodated his request.

There is no rule in the Assembly Standing Rules that allows you to arbitrarily remove me from an elected Caucus position. 

Standing Rules of the Nevada Assembly -

Rule No. 1. Speaker of the Assembly.
1. All officers of the Assembly are subordinate to the Speaker in all that relates to the prompt, efficient and correct discharge of their official duties under the Speaker's supervision.  

Neither have the members of the Caucus been presented with any evidence from any source that allows you to overrule my election by a majority of the Assembly Republican Caucus 

In the book "The Sagebrush State: Nevada's History, Government, and Politics written by Michael Wayne Bowers (first edition 1996, the third edition printed by University of Nevada Press with updates 2006)

(Chapter 6 pg 72)  In the assembly, the presiding officer is the speaker of the assembly. The speaker, who is selected by the majority party caucus, not only presides over the assembly but also serves as his party's leader. In that capacity, he appoints his party's members to the various committees and selects the majority leader, the speaker pro-tempore, and the committee chairs......The assembly minority leader makes committee assignments for his or her party members. 

as the Majority Leader of the Caucus.  You need to know that a sizeable portion of the members of the Caucus still consider me the Majority Leader as do I.

I will be occupying my Majority Leader office January 5th.

As a legislator who is returning for her second term I would expect that you know the procedures of the Nevada Assembly better than you have demonstrated in this letter. Offices are assigned by the Speaker. Even if I were to concede that you are the ML, which I do not, it is in the authority of the speaker to assign you any office regardless of your title.

You have stated publicly that I have threatened to bring suit for your decision to remove me as Majority Leader of the Assembly Republican Caucus.  I wish to state clearly, concisely and categorically that I have never considered such a move nor have I told anyone that I was considering such a move.  Anyone that told you I was considering doing so does not have the best interests of the Caucus as their goal, rather, they are trying to wreak havoc among our members.  

As far as I know the only threatened legal action has been by your political adviser, Nathan Emens, who you told me was threatening to sue every member of the caucus and that that was the reason you were attempting to remove me by fiat.  

A few reasons I decided to removed you as Majority Floor Leader:

1 - Instead of explaining your IRS issues publicly like you had agreed to do you squandered the opportunity by maliciously attacking two respected consultants and a caucus donor.

2 - You attempted to undermine the Political Affairs department at the Sands by going directly to Mr. Adelson while also attacking the credibility of other caucus members. This puts at risk future support for all caucus members.

3 - You made threats to members of the caucus based solely on unsubstantiated rumors.  

4 - Repeated insubordination. You continually tried to change room and committee assignments behind my back.

In addition to threatening legal action against all the members of our Caucus, we now know that Mr. Emens also helped in Meghan Smith's failed campaign to defeat Victoria Seaman in the 2014 General Election.

Nathan owns a mail company and who he chooses to do business with is not a discussion point for the caucus. Nathan is not an employee of the caucus and any members that disagree with his business decisions are free to not use his services.

 Neither of these actions are conducive to Caucus harmony, and until they are discussed among members and cleared up remain a problem for the Caucus.

Rule 1(1) of the Assembly Standing Rules does give you authority over "officers of the Assembly," it does not give you the power to overrule the decisions of the Caucuses.  In addition according to the National Council of State Legislatures (http://www.ncsl.org/documents/legismgt/ilp/99tab2pt3.pdf) both the minority and majority parties in the Nevada Legislature elect their Caucus leaders.

First, NCSL has no authority over the Nevada legislature and their understanding of how our assembly works is wrong.

Second, even in the source you linked to it says:

Caucus rules. Most legislative party caucuses have not developed formal rules for their proceedings. More often, caucus business is governed by informal rules loosely based on senate or house parliamentary procedure, by unwritten caucus traditions or simply by the style of the caucus leader who presides over the meeting.) 

Until you prove otherwise I question your power to remove me and wish to state that may only be done by a Caucus vote.

Since we can all agree that the caucus does not have formal rules for this situation we need to look at other areas for guidance. Since there are not specific rules related to this question I have chosen to follow the order of dispute resolution per the Assembly Standing Rules from last legislative session. Although these are specific to committees there is wisdom in the steps.  

F. PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY

Rule No. 58. Precedence of Parliamentary Authority for Committees.

The precedence of parliamentary authority for the purpose of actions in a committee is set forth in Assembly Standing Rule No. 100. Precedence of Parliamentary Authority.

1. The precedence of parliamentary authority in the Assembly is:

(a) The Constitution of the State of Nevada and judicial decisions thereon. (not applicable)

(b) The Standing Rules of the Assembly and the Joint Standing Rules of the Senate and Assembly. 

Rule No. 1. Speaker of the Assembly.

1. All officers of the Assembly are subordinate to the Speaker in all that relates to the prompt, efficient and correct discharge of their official duties under the Speaker's supervision.

(c) Custom, usage and precedence. from 1973 until 2013 with the exception of 1985 which I don't have information for, the Assembly Majority Floor Leader was appointed by the Speaker. 

(d) The Statutes of the State of Nevada. (not applicable)

(e) Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure.

(b) and (c) make the answer perfectly clear. Therefor there is not a need to go to Mason's.

I do know how to count votes and realize I might not survive a new vote for Majority Leader but that vote must be taken and it must be taken as soon as possible.  The January 5, 2015 meeting that you unilaterally canceled would have been the perfect time for that vote and I urge you to reconsider. As the Majority Leader

You have no standing to call a meeting as you are not the ML. If you were the ML you could call a meeting anytime you would like but without the authority of the Speaker the decisions made in the meeting would carry no authority.

 I'm calling that meeting. Our caucus will meet January 5th at 3:30pm in our caucus room.

It is in the best interests of the Caucus to bring this unfortunate incident to a conclusion.

I will abide by the decision of the Caucus and look forward to working to bring about the real changes Nevada needs and the people who elected us deserve.

One a final note: I ask that you address directly Assemblyman Hickey's recent, quite insulting column in which he referred to our caucus as "a second-rate Vegas lounge act" while repeating a media reference to us as the "Clown Caucus." 

I do not agree with Assemblyman Hickey's descriptions. I also do not agree with your press releases and interviews claiming that the removal of you from your positions was because of a "GOP war on women." Ultimately your removal was based solely on your conduct.

For the record, is this sort of offensive personal attack on our caucus by a fellow caucus member acceptable under your leadership?

Pat's "personal attacks" are not even comparable to your attacks on members of this caucus, Myself and Paul Anderson at a minimum along with donors and consultants. 

If is not acceptable why have you decided to reward this type of behavior by assigning Mr. Hickey premier office space.

42 assembly members, 42 offices. The Ways and Means chair is also the Majority Leader and did not need a second office.

 

That said, Mr. Hickey also complained about "partisan caucuses, meeting secretly behind closed doors," and wrote that he hoped such clandestine meetings "one day become an endangered political species."

In that spirit of open transparency - and since these leadership questions will affect all Nevadans that we represent, not just caucus members - I intend to post this particular letter on my website so that everyone knows exactly what is going on and exactly what my positions are on this situation.

I hope in that same spirit you post an unedited version of my responses. 

I'm copying our Governor, our legal division and our Chief of the Assembly as well.

I encourage you to do the same with your response.  This is not an issue that should be resolved behind closed doors via "internal communication only."

Now that I have answered your questions I hope we can all get back to work representing the people of Nevada. As I said in my previous email to the caucus, we need to work as a cohesive unit. I hope you will come to the table and work to be a part of the solution and stop with the childish games. 

Assemblyman John Hambrick