A Nevada assemblyman who broke rank with fellow Republicans on a key bill opposed by unions has moved from a committee where he was a swing voter.
Assemblyman Glenn Trowbridge, a Las Vegas Republican who was appointed to his seat by the all-Democrat Clark County Commission, was moved from the Assembly Government Affairs Committee and reassigned to the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
Conservative Minden Republican Assemblyman Jim Wheeler took his place in the government affairs committee, which deals with hot-button issues including public employee union pensions.
Although Trowbridge, who describes himself as a “pragmatic political moderate,” said he doesn’t believe the move was retaliation for a non-party vote last month, representatives from progressive groups say it appears Republican leaders are trying to silence dissenting voices to clear the way for conservative legislation.
“You took someone who was very moderate and replaced him with an ideologue,” said Annette Magnus, executive director of Battle Born Progress. “It’s punishment for him speaking out on issues.”
Republican Assembly Caucus spokesman Ed Gonzalez said Trowbridge wanted to switch committees because the judiciary panel is dealing with major homeowner association measures, such as a bill up for debate Thursday that would move HOA law from state to local jurisdiction.
Trowbridge will serve as vice chair of the HOA subcommittee and replace freshman Republican Assemblyman David Gardner, who would have been sitting on five committees, a relatively high number. Trowbridge also noted that a vast majority of his constituents are part of HOAs.
“I found it to be an attractive offer,” Trowbridge said Wednesday. “I feel like I’m giving more benefit to people by virtue of access to the HOAs.”
Democratic Assemblyman Edgar Flores, a member of the government affairs committee, said he was surprised by the move but didn’t believe it would make a big difference in the outcomes of bills because Trowbridge is not committee chairman — a position with much more power to save or kill bills.
Trowbridge joined Assemblyman John Moore in opposing SB119 in a government affairs committee vote in early March, temporarily killing the bill. The Republican-backed measure allows school boards to extend construction bonds but also suspends prevailing wage rules, which are favored by Democrats and unions.
In an unusual move, both lawmakers later switched their votes and revived the bill, which was ultimately signed into law by Gov. Brian Sandoval. Trowbridge again broke from most other Republicans and voted against SB119 on the Assembly floor.
Assembly Majority Leader Paul Anderson said Trowbridge’s vote on the bill had nothing to do with the committee change.
“It’s completely unrelated to that,” he said. “That bill has come and gone.”
The government affairs committee has reviewed high-profile pension bills including AB190, which would turn the Nevada Public Employees Retirement System into a program that more closely resembles a private 401(k) plan. The measure has drawn worried reactions from public employees, and is awaiting further review by a money committee.
Trowbridge is a retiree and Clark County’s former longtime parks and recreation director. He’s a former president of the Retired Public Employees of Nevada, an organization that represents people covered by PERS.