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Nevada governor signs transgender hate crimes bill

Wednesday, May 22, 2013
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CARSON CITY, Nev. — Crimes that target transgender person because of their sexual identity now carry an extra penalty in Nevada.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval signed SB139 into law Tuesday. The new law adds a person’s “gender identity or expression” to the list of motivating factors interpreted as a hate crime.

Defendants face the penalties for the actual crime committed, and up to an additional 20 years in prison because the motivation.

“This does not afford victims special rights,” Assemblyman Andrew Martin (D-Las Vegas), who is openly gay, said earlier this month, when the bill passed in the Assembly.

“This is a statement of what our society is, and that we will not tolerate the systematic targeting of individuals who are historically disadvantaged groups,” he said.

The bill breezed through the Senate with only one vote of opposition, and it passed the Assembly 30-11.

Democratic Sen. Pat Spearman of North Las Vegas was the primary sponsor of the legislation.

“Whenever we find that there are a group of people among us that – for some reason – are more vulnerable, we protect them,” said Spearman. “That’s what we do.”

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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