Gender identity amendment rejected by Assembly; Lombardo vetoes 2 bills

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Lawmakers in the Assembly rejected a gender-equity amendment to a bill on Tuesday with less than a week remaining in the 2023 session.

With no discussion, the Assembly rejected the amendment to Assembly Bill 423 (AB423) on a voice vote.

The amendment (No. 674) would have prohibited school boards from making policies that used gender identity to limit student access to bathrooms or lockerrooms, or from participating in sports. The amendment would have also imposed a fine of up to $5,000 for each day the policy remained in place.

The amendment exposed the bill to a possible veto. Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo hasn’t commented directly on the issue, but he has signed a letter opposing federal changes to Title IX that would expand the meaning of sexual discrimination to include gender identity issues. That change would withhold federal funds to enforce gender equity in sports.

The bill now goes back to the Senate to be considered without the amendment. The original bill has no connection to gender identity issues. It seeks to limit school boards from voting after midnight, when public participation usually drops after extended meetings.

The action came as Lombardo is vetoing more legislation that reaches his desk. Two bills were vetoed, but Lombardo has not yet stated his reasons for the vetoes. The bills were:

Also Tuesday, Lombardo signed Senate Bill 131 (SB131), a bill providing protections for out-of-state residents who come to Nevada for abortions. The bill prohibits Nevada law enforcement agencies from cooperating in prosecutions by out-of-state agencies. Nevada law currently guards residents’ access to abortion despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas, tweeted from the Governor’s Office to announce the signature: “Today, #SB131 was signed by Governor Lombardo. I want thank him for following through on his commitment to ensure that Nevada won’t participate in prosecutions of women who come here to exercise their reproductive rights. #nvleg”

Gov. Joe Lombardo with Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro.

“Gov. Lombardo made a campaign commitment to sign a law ensuring that Nevada would not participate in prosecuting those seeking legal medical care in the state. Today, Gov. Lombardo kept that commitment, signing SB 131 into law,” Lombardo Communications Director Elizabeth Ray said.

Earlier, Lombardo signed SB406 in a ceremony with Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar. The bill protects election workers from intimidation, coercion, violence, restraint or undue influence.

Advocates for SB406 applauded the new law. “Election staffers are the unsung heroes of our democracy,” said Emily Persaud-Zamora, executive director of Silver State Voices on behalf of the Let Nevadans Vote coalition. “They work tirelessly to run Nevada’s elections and ensure all voters can cast their ballots. We know the passing of this bill will provide a sense of assurance to both workers and their loved ones as they continue to uphold our democracy.”

Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar and Gov. Joe Lombardo are joined by election workers from across the state as SB406 is signed on Tuesday.

“As an organization that has recruited dozens of non-partisan election protection observers and volunteer shifts, we know that democracy is on the line,” remarks One APIA Nevada Acting Executive Director Eric Jeng. “Exercising our right to vote is sacred and the hard-working election workers should be free from fear and intimidation. We thank Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar and his office for proposing and working with community partners on SB406 as well as county registrars and their teams for their service.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.