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When Lawmakers Meet: What Really Goes On?

Casey Morell

State Assemblyman Michael Sprinkles quit Thursday after accusations of sexual harassment.

Before that, Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson stepped down after it was revealed that he misused campaign funds.

Former State Senator Warren Hardy, who is now a lobbyist in Carson City, said he was surprised by Sprinkle's departure. He said he had heard rumors that he was going to resign but was surprised.

Hardy doesn't believe misdeeds are related to anything in particular in Carson City but more to do with human nature.

"It's human nature I guess when people get away from their families," he said, "There's a bit of party atmosphere ."

Hardy said there used to be even more of a party feeling in Carson City but now that the session is only 120 days there is less of that going on.

Patricia Farley is a former state senator. She thinks mistakes by lawmakers has more to do with their own character than anything else, including the isolation of Carson City.

"We're grown-ups," she said, "It's not high school. We're not out there making mistakes. We've already made those mistakes. For me, its how you conduct yourself."

As for the particular problem that Sprinkle is accused of, Farley said more women are coming forward with accusations because the channel to report problems of sexual harassment is more open.

And, leadership in the Legislature is not going to allow harassment of any kind against anyone.

"Senator Ford, when he was a senator, now he's our AG, it was obvious to me he wasn't going to have that in the building," she said.

Hardy agreed. He said it is not about the amount of control the leaders have but about how they set the tone.

"I don't think there is anything going on in the building or anywhere else in society frankly that hasn't been going on for a long time, but it's long overdue," he said, "Finally, we're getting to a place where it is just simply not tolerated."



Patricia Farley, former state senator; Warren Hardy, former state senator

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.