HRC Blog

Nevada State Senate Passes Trans-Inclusive Hate Crimes Bill

This post comes from Nevada State Senator Pat Spearman. Senator Spearman is a first term, out-lesbian, African American Pastor from Las Vegas. Similar hate crimes legislation failed in the state legislature last session. Senate Bill 139 was Senator Spearman’s first piece of legislation she introduced as a lawmaker. The bill passed the Senate with all but one Senator voting in favor. It now heads to the State Assembly, where a similar bill passed in 2011.

Yesterday morning, I testified on behalf of Senate Bill 139, legislation that would add gender identity into the state’s existing hate crime law. Here is a piece of my testimony:

Can we forget the horrifying news of James Byrd, Jr., an African-American who was murdered by three men, of whom at least two were white supremacists, in Jasper, Texas? And in October of the same year, Matthew Shepard, a student at the University of Wyoming was tortured and then tied to a fence as an added insult in this murderous act near Laramie,Wyoming.

These acts, often violent, cannot and should not happy to anyone, regardless of who they are. Many of these crimes are committed against men,women, and children because of their gender identity or expression. Senate Bill 139 seeks to expand Nevada’s existing hate crime laws by including persons who are victimized because oftheir gender identity or expression.

Protected groups presently include people who are victims of crimes motivated by race, color, religion, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation. This bill would extend the rights all Nevadans.

It is with deep respect for the humanity of ALL people that I ask you to support Senate Bill 139. Thank you for your time this morning.

Many of my colleagues in the State Senate understand the need for this legislation and voted in favor of Senate Bill 139. It now heads to the State House, where I will once again let my colleagues know that this bill is essential to ensure that ALL Nevada’s are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

A majority of my colleagues in the State Senate, both Democrats and Republicans, understand the need for this legislation and voted in favor of Senate Bill 139. It now heads to the State Assembly, which passed a similar version of this bill during the last session in 2011. I will once again work with my colleagues in the lower chamber urging swift passage of this bill to ensure that ALL Nevada’s are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

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