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Sandoval, Laxalt both planning school safety summits; staffs say they're trying to ensure they're not duplicative

Michelle Rindels
Michelle Rindels

Staffers for Gov. Brian Sandoval and Attorney General Adam Laxalt say they’re trying to ensure they are not duplicating efforts after both men announced plans for school safety-focused roundtables in the aftermath of a mass shooting in Parkland, FL.

After meeting with President Donald Trump last week during the National Governors Association meeting in Washington, D.C., Sandoval issued a press release Feb. 27 saying he wanted to convene school superintendents from across the state to discuss the topic. In an interview Monday, he described his plan in more detail.

“It’s going to be my effort to have two tracks — one track that includes the superintendents, which I hope leads to an executive order that appoints a new committee made up of educators, parents, students, that constituency to talk about school safety, and get its recommendations and be able to inform the 2019 Legislature,” Sandoval said. “And then the Homeland Security Commission would also take this up from a homeland security standpoint.”

Early Monday, Laxalt — who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor but whose agenda has sometimes clashed with Sandoval’s — announced a plan to convene law enforcement officials around the state on March 14 for one of his occasional policy summits.

“As the State’s chief law enforcement officer, I am uniquely situated to lead a statewide discussion regarding school safety with law enforcement officials, teachers, school administrators and security experts,” Laxalt said in a press release.

Sandoval said Monday morning that the two parties weren’t working in tandem.

“I just heard about that,” the governor said. “I would imagine that much if not all of that is redundant of what we’re already doing.”

Laxalt’s office issued a statement in the afternoon saying it had been planning the event for several weeks, but had been communicating with Sandoval’s subordinates.

“Upon learning about Governor Sandoval’s proposed meeting with school superintendents throughout the State, our office worked to coordinate with the governor’s staff regarding the two meetings,” the statement said. “We were assured, after discussing a draft agenda with the governor’s staff, that our specialized focus on law enforcement would add to the discussion of school safety.”

Sandoval Chief of Staff Mike Willden said the discussion had been between the two staffs over the past week but hadn’t percolated to the governor until recently. The law enforcement summit, which is expected to convene law enforcement personnel from all 17 counties for a half-day meeting in Las Vegas and Carson City, may either culminate in a report to be disseminated to the public, or a presentation that would be provided to the Homeland Security Commission.

That commission includes sheriffs from Nevada’s two most populous counties, representatives from the FBI, the Nevada Legislature and the Department of Homeland Security, among others.

“We want to ensure that whatever happens, we want them to complement each other,” Willden said.


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