Shortly after my earlier report on SB 139, I testified here at Grant Sawyer. My full prepared remarks are below.
Hate crimes are on the rise again nationally. In 2011, we saw the highest level of hate crimes against LGBTQ Americans in 14 years. This was confirmed in last December's FBI report.
And that doesn't tell the whole story. In fact, the FBI will only begin collecting data on hate crimes against transgender Americans this year.
From what we have seen in recent years, transgender people are especially vulnerable. At least 15 transgender people are killed every day in America. And these are not just statistics. These are real people. And for many of us, these people are our loved ones.
We can not let this continue. This is why Nevada needs SB 139. We can't afford any more of this senseless violence. And we certainly should not overlook this violence just because of who these victims are.
SB 139 doesn't grant any "special privileges" to any one. Rather, this bill levels the playing field so transgender Nevadans can finally access the justice they deserve. Law enforcement agencies have had problems handling crimes against transgender victims. And perpetrators of these violent crimes have often sought leniency from the courts by using excuses like "gay panic defense". This must end.
I'm heartened to see such strong support for SB 139 now, and I hope this means you will finally pass it this year. Thank you.