Just minutes ago, the full Nevada Senate approved SB 192. And the vote wasn't close. In fact, it was 14-7.
All the Republicans voted for the bill introduced by one of their own, Barbara Cegavske (R-Spring Valley). However, Democrats were split. Senators Mo Denis (D-North Las Vegas), Ruben Kihuen (D-Las Vegas), Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas), and Justin Jones (D-Enterprise) voted in favor. Meanwhile, Senators David Parks (D-Paradise), Mark Manendo (D-Paradise), Joyce Woodhouse (D-Henderson), Debbie Smith (D-Sparks), Kelvin Atkinson (D-North Las Vegas), Pat Spearman (D-North Las Vegas), and Aaron Ford (D-Spring Valley) all voted against SB 192.
So what happens next? It's on its way to the Assembly. However, there is a catch.
Remember that SB 192 was amended to address concerns over the bill providing license to discriminate. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed an amended version earlier this month with new language clarifying that this law can not be used as legal justification for any type of civil rights violations.
Yet with this being said, several Senators clearly still had concerns. Will the new language really be enough of a safeguard to prevent future attempts to (mis)use this bill to justify wrongful workplace, housing, health care, and other forms of discrimination? Will gay couples be wrongfully denied of housing? Will a bus driver be allowed to deny a Muslim passenger the ability to stop at the mosque? Will any pharmacists try to deny contraception to their patients?
Will there be law suits flying all over state and federal courts anyway? And why is this bill even necessary in the first place? Many are still scratching their heads over these last two questions.
However, there were more than enough Senators to pass it today. We'll just have to wait and see what the Assembly does with it. Oh, joy. (/snark)