LAS VEGAS — (05-28-21) — Nevada scores huge points as it approves two LGBTQ+ Affirming Bills that are now awaiting Gov Sisolak (D) signature.  With over two dozens states controlled by GOP legislatures trying to restrict LGBTQ+ protections, the Democratic controlled Nevada legislature have sent two LGBTQ+ affirming bills to Gov. Steve Sisolak (D).

The first of two bills, SB275, decriminalizes the transmission of HIV. It was passed by the Senate unanimously and with a considerable margin in the House. SB275 would lessen the penalty for knowingly transmitting HIV from a class B felony and punishable by a fine of $10,000 or up to two years imprisonment – to a warning on the first offense and a misdemeanor charge on the second violation, mirroring other such communicable disease penalties instituted by the state.

“We recognize that not only have these laws not worked to protect people from the transmission of HIV,” said Samuel Garrett-Pate, communications director for Silver State Equality, in a statement to the Nevada Independent. “They’ve actually been counterproductive … They actually discourage testing. They discourage people from learning their status. They discourage people from disclosing their status.” said Garrett-Pate.

Last year, Nevada became the first state to recognize gay marriage in its constitution after having passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2002 that was ruled unconstitutional by federal courts.

The second bill, AB261, requires public schools to teach “the history and contributions” of several historically marginalized groups, including the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities and immigrants.

According to a 2019 survey by GLSEN, only 15 percent of LGBTQ+ students were provided with positive representations of LGBTQ+ people or history in instruction.  This is one of the reasons lawmakers moved ahead to get these bills passed before Pride Month.

“This year, we’ve seen record numbers of harmful anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced across the country. But Nevada’s new law offers a powerful contrast and shows us that a better way is not only possible, but already in motion,” Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, GLSEN interim Executive Director told the American Independent. “I hope that lawmakers and school leaders across the country follow Nevada’s lead and take swift action to invest in LGBTQ+ students’ well-being.” said Wellington.

Nevada continues to be at the forefront on LGBTQ+ rights and protections nationwide and JRL CHARTS is proud to call Nevada our home.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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