Nevada to become first state with majority-female Legislature

Some have called 2018 the Year of the Woman. In Nevada, 2019 will be the year of the woman-majority state Legislature.

Come February, Nevada will be the first state in the country to have a majority female Legislature after the Clark County Commission appointed two women Democrats to open seats in the state Assembly, the Nevada Independent reported.

Rochelle Nguyen will replace Assemblyman Chris Brooks, who was appointed to the state Senate, and Beatrice “Bea” Duran is replacing Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz, who resigned this month and plans to run for a seat on the Las Vegas City Council.

With the appointments, women will have 51 percent of the seats – or 32 out of 63 -- in the state Legislature.

Both appointments were unanimous. But some commissioners voiced concern about the lack of public participation in how open seats are filled.

“I’ve gotten to the point that I think legislatively, this process is flawed and needs to be taken a look at,” Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said. “We’ve been doing too many appointments. It gives people the image of incumbency and new people can never bubble up.”

Gov.-elect Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, agreed the system needs to change, the Reno Gazette Journal reported.

"There's got to be a better system for this," Sisolak told the newspaper. "It's unfortunate, but this is the system that we have, that we're dealing with, so hopefully the Legislature will look at this and maybe make some changes."

"There's got to be a better system for this. It's unfortunate, but this is the system that we have, that we're dealing with, so hopefully the Legislature will look at this and maybe make some changes."

— Nevada Gov.-elect Steve Sisolak

Women hold around 25 percent of legislative seats nationwide, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In November, 117 women won elections across the country, though only about one in five members in the new Congress will be female, according to the New York Times.

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Previously, New Hampshire's state Senate had a female majority between 2009 and 2010, and U.S. territory Guam had a majority female Legislature elected in 2018, the Independent reported.