History of the Nevada Legislature

Nevada officially became a state in 1864 after Territorial Governor James W. Nye sent the entire Nevada Constitution by telegraph to Washington, D.C. It took two days to send the 16,543-word document across the country to help President Lincoln win his reelection and to ratify (this means to legally and officially approve) the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Before Nevada joined the Union, the first regular session of the Legislative State Assembly was held at the Warm Springs Hotel, located where the Nevada State Prison now stands in Carson City. The hotel was owned by Abraham Curry, who is considered the founding father of Carson City. From 1862 to 1871, Mr. Curry provided and later leased rooms in the Great Basin Hotel, on the west side of Carson City, to the Nevada Territory and later the State of Nevada.

In 1871, the fifth session of the Nevada Legislature was held in the newly built Capitol Building.  The Legislature continued to meet in the Capitol Building until 1971, when both chambers moved to their new home in the Legislative Building, just south of the Capitol Building in downtown Carson City. This is where the Nevada Legislature meets today.

In the Assembly Chamber

The Assembly Chamber is where members of the Nevada Assembly meet to hear and vote on legislation. The Speaker of the Assembly presides over the Assembly, controls the flow of legislation, and decides which committees receive bills.

Above the Speaker’s podium is a large gavel that is engraved with the name of the longest-serving Speaker of the Nevada Assembly, Joe Dini. There is also a portrait of Abraham Lincoln above the Speaker, honoring the state’s history with the 16th President. To commemorate the state’s 50th anniversary, the Legislature of 1915 authorized a committee to purchase the painting and accompanying frame for $1,300.