Assemblyman Sprinkle resigns over harassment allegations

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle was one of the more influential members of the Nevada Assembly from Washoe County.

In office since 2013, he was assigned the Majority Whip post this 2019 session when Democrats won a super majority in the lower house.

Perhaps his most consequential piece of legislation was introduced last session “Medicaid-For-All”.

“We have those who are eligible for Medicaid,” Sprinkle told us in 2017. “And what this is now going to do is let everyone else who chooses to buy in, by paying a premium just like with private insurance for anyone else,” he said.

“Medicaid-For-All” passed both houses in the 2017 session, but was vetoed by the governor. Sprinkle vowed to try again during this legislative session.

Then Thursday, a shocker. Assemblyman Sprinkle abruptly resigned, saying:

"I am truly disappointed in myself for anything that I have done to discredit the legislature or the state of Nevada. As for the claims against me, I am so sorry."

According to Sprinkle's statement, a growing number of sexual harassment claims led to his decision. And while we have no specifics, apparently the governor had enough information to respond to Sprinkle's resignation, saying, “I am profoundly disgusted and outraged by Mr. Sprinkle's reported abuse and misconduct. Let me be perfectly clear: sexual harassment is never to be tolerated."

Other reactions followed. Assembly Minority Leader Jim Wheeler wrote, "We are pleased that he resigned and saved the body any unnecessary distraction in such a critical time."

Last year, Nevada lawmakers set up a confidential and investigative process for staff, personnel, colleagues and others to report sexual harassment at the legislature.

The system keeps lawmakers at bay during such investigations.

Assistant Majority Leader of the Senate Julia Ratti alluded to the reporting protocol and the bravery of individuals who come forward.

"Our Caucus commends the women who came forward to shed light on Assemblyman Sprinkle's behavior."

Speaker of the House Jason Frierson responded, "I urge anyone who is a victim of misconduct or harassment to utilize this process."

Sprinkle's resignation was so quick and decisive his name had already been removed from the voting display board in the Nevada Assembly Chambers during Thursday's morning session.

It will be up to Washoe County Commissioners to select Assemblyman Sprinkle’s replacement. They could take up the issue in the March 26 scheduled meeting.

The county will release specifics Friday on applications from people in District 30 who are Democrats and interested in serving in the 2019 Legislative Session.