screenshot of robin bates, former sergeant-at-arms for the nevada assembly who died feb. 1, 2021

Robin Bates, sergeant-at-arms for the Nevada Assembly, died Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (Screenshot from Nevada Legislature)

Nevada Assembly Sergeant-at-Arms Dies From COVID-19

By Julie Lays | Feb. 3, 2021 | State Legislatures Magazine

The Nevada Assembly’s sergeant-at-arms, Robin Bates, was known and loved for his boisterous laugh, which could be heard throughout the capitol, often after he revealed an elaborate, weekslong prank he had concocted to play on a colleague.

Bates died from COVID-19 on Feb. 1, just as session was beginning. “We all share in this grief because we all shared in our love for Robin,” Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D) said in a statement. “He was our friend, our trusted confidant and our biggest cheerleader.”

Bates “wasn’t just a sergeant-at-arms, he was a friend,” Majority Leader Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D) told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “A great man who always put service above self,” Assemblyman Philip P.K. O’Neill (R) tweeted.

After 27 years with the Nevada Department of Corrections, including a stint as a prison warden, Bates joined the Assembly’s sergeant-at-arms office in 2001. Two years later he became the sergeant-at-arms, the chamber’s principal law enforcement officer. He immediately professionalized the office “to reflect the seriousness of the work done here,” Frierson said. “He proudly upheld the traditions of the Assembly and represented this House with distinction and honor, both here and nationally. … He was truly the heart and soul of this chamber.”

Bates was a member of NCSL’s National Legislative Services and Security Association, one of the organization’s professional staff associations. He died peacefully at home with his wife and two sons.

Julie Lays is the editor of State Legislatures magazine.

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