LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Gov. Steve Sisolak on Sunday signed four bills to support LGBTQ rights in Nevada.
Sisolak signed the bills at the Henderson Pride Fest on June 6. The event also celebrated the grand reopening of the Henderson Equality Center, offered free HIV testing and COVID-19 vaccinations.
“Nevada is known as a warm and welcoming place for all– in our State, we celebrate our diversity,” said Sisolak. “I am so grateful to sign legislation to ensure that our LGBTQ+ community feels safe, protected and can continue to grow and flourish in the Silver State.”
Sisolak signed the following bills:
SB 109: requires local governments to collect demographic information related to race, ethnicity, gender identity and gender expression.
SB 237: ensures that Nevada provides equal access and opportunities to help grow LGBTQ-owned businesses.
SB 325: will allow pharmacists to use their expert knowledge to increase access to care to HIV patients, in some cases without a prescription from a healthcare practitioner.
SB 275: repeals a Nevada statute that makes it a felony for someone who has tested positive for HIV to intentionally, knowingly or willfully engage in conduct that is intended or likely to transmit the disease. The law also reestablishes the Advisory Task Force on HIV Exposure Modernization for the 2021-2022 Legislative interim, Sisolak said.
"Repealing that statute means a person who has contracted HIV and who engaged in such behavior would instead be given a warning as their first offense and, after a second offense, would be guilty of a misdemeanor — a punishment that is consistent with the treatment of other communicable diseases," the group Silver State Equality said in a media release.
Research shows that people living with HIV on effective treatment cannot transmit the virus, the group explained.
“Today, Nevada recognizes HIV as a public health issue, not a criminal one. issue. With his signature, Governor Sisolak has moved Nevada HIV laws into the 21st century by aligning them with modern science, ultimately helping to reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV. When people are no longer penalized for knowing their status, it encourages them to come forward, get tested and get treatment. That’s good for all Nevadans," said Silver State Equality State Director Andre C. Wade. "The HIV epidemic will end not by threatening people with criminal prosecution, but instead, by encouraging people to get tested, and by providing them access to care. Today’s signing is especially great news for Nevada communities of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community, who are disproportionately impacted by HIV.”