Joe Dini files for 18th state Assembly term

Speaker Joe Dini of Yerington filed Thursday for a record 18th term in the Nevada Assembly.

Dini has been speaker eight times. No one else has held that post more than twice. He has served in the Assembly 33 years - longer than anyone in Nevada history. He represents District 38, which includes Lyon and Storey counties as well as part of eastern Carson City.

He said he hasn't decided whether to ask fellow Democrats for the speaker's chair again.

"Perkins and some of the other young folks want to go up the ladder," he said, referring to Majority Leader Richard Perkins of Henderson.

Dini, owner of Dini's Lucky Club in Yerington, said he opposes both state Sen. Joe Neal's proposed gaming tax increase and the business tax initiative being circulated by the teachers' union. His casino would not be hit by the tax increase since it is targeted at only the state's largest casinos.

But he said lawmakers should work on alternatives to present to the public if either of those measures wins enough signatures to make the 2002 ballot.

And he said he expects the teachers will get enough signers to force the issue before the Legislature.

"You have to put out alternatives to those proposals," he said.

Dini said that could include proposals that come from Gov. Kenny Guinn's fundamental review to make government more efficient and less expensive as well as different tax plans.

"You have to make a good faith effort to present something reasonable unless you want to do government by default."

Dini, 71, said he hopes the 2001 Legislature will be able to handle reapportionment without a special session. But he admitted that will be a challenge with initiative petitions demanding tax increases that must be processed in 40 days, the governor's fundamental review of state government and the budget to build for the coming two years.

He said he expects the Democrats, who now hold a 28-14 margin in the Assembly, to keep control.

And he said as a rural legislator, he wants to expand the size of the Legislature enough in reapportionment so that rural Nevada doesn't lose representation. Now, four Assembly members and two senators represent almost all of rural Nevada, while Dini and two other lower house members along with two more senators cover almost everything else outside of Washoe and Clark counties.

With the huge population shift to Clark County, rural numbers must shrink unless the size of both the Senate and Assembly are increased.

Dini says he favors an odd number for the Assembly, like 47, so the two parties can't tie as they did in 1995.

Republican Roger Bishop has filed for Dini's seat. Bishop was defeated by Dini in 1998.


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