- Associated Press - Sunday, May 7, 2017

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - An investigation of alleged sexual harassment lodged against a longtime state lawmaker, continuing state budget talks and bills addressing rights for crime victims and juvenile offenders will all be in the spotlight at the Nevada Legislature this week.

Here’s a look at what’s happening in Carson City:

HARASSMENT ALEGATION:

The spokesman for Nevada’s Senate Democratic caucus said an independent investigator is looking into an allegation of sexual harassment lodged recently against Las Vegas Sen. Mark Manendo.

Peter Koltak confirmed the Legislature, at the direction of Democratic Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, has retained an independent investigator but declined to provide details about the allegation.

Manendo is a Democrat who has served in the Legislature for 23 years and is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

He did not respond to text and email messages seeking comment. A phone message left Sunday at his office was not immediately returned.

Manendo was accused of sexually harassing interns during the 2003 legislative session.

An independent review found no evidence of wrongdoing.

He denied any intentional harassment at the time and apologized repeatedly.

___

FORMER COLLEAGUES ENTER BUDGET TALKS

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval and Democratic Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson are drawing on their prior relationship in the state’s budget negotiations.

Frierson served as a deputy to then-Attorney General Sandoval from 2003-2005.

“Jason is somebody that I worked with at the attorney general’s office. He’s somebody that I know and trust. He’s somebody that has the best interest of Nevadans in mind and I’m looking forward to working with him,” Sandoval said after a meeting with Frierson on Friday.

For his part, Democratic Majority Leader Aaron Ford has had productive conversations with the governor throughout the legislative session, Koltak said. The two are scheduled to meet early this week.

Sandoval’s proposed budget includes $60 million over the next two years for a program that would provide a limited number of families up to about $5,000 to move their children from public to private schools. Democrats opposed to the idea that is a major sticking point in budget talks.

Sandoval said Friday he was optimistic they’ll find common ground.

Frierson was unavailable to comment afterward, spokeswoman Sarah Abel said.

The budget faces a June 5 deadline.

___

RIGHTS FOR VICTIMS, OFFENDERS

Legislators this session are considering bills of rights for victims and juvenile offenders.

Both proposals passed their first full-chamber votes unanimously, discounting excused legislators. Both will get hearings this week.

Senate Joint Resolution 17, which California adopted in 2008 as Marsy’s Law and is sponsored in Nevada by Republican Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, would establish a crime victim’s right to be informed of their case’s court proceedings and given opportunity to testify. It will be heard on Tuesday.

Assembly Bill 180, led by Democratic Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno, would require most juvenile correction centers to provide basic clothing and personal hygiene products to offenders.

Minors detained in state and local government facilities would also get religious accommodations and regular communication with family. The bill will be heard on Thursday.


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