The proposed constitutional amendment that would put the equal rights language in the Nevada Constitution took another step Tuesday toward a vote of the people.
Senate Joint Resolution 8 of the 2019 Legislature was approved 18-3 by the Nevada Senate with a majority of Republicans joining their Democratic colleagues in supporting passage. That is SJR8’s second time through the Senate.
The three Republicans who voted against passage are Carrie Buck of Henderson, Ira Hansen of Sparks and Pete Goicoechea of Eureka.
The resolution was forwarded to the Assembly, which is expected to give final legislative approval and send the amendment to the voters in November 2022.
Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas, said unlike her great-grandmother and grandmother, she was not prevented from going to college or pursuing a career. but that those who say statutes already guarantee equality are wrong, “disregarding that is to turn a blind eye.”
Hansen said if passed, the amendment would strip away dozens of state statutes that protect women.
“I urge my colleagues to vote no for the good of the women of Nevada,” he said.
He said the resolution doesn’t just call for equality for women but for nine other categories of people that weren’t in the original Equal Rights Amendment.
SJR8 of the 2019 session states that: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by this State or any of its political subdivisions on account of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry or national origin.”
“I am one of the people that is affected by the lack of equality in our constitution,” said Sen. Pat Spearman, D-Las Vegas.
Spearman, a black woman, said she has experienced racism throughout her life as well as sexism, “and, as a member of the LGBTQ community, homophobia.”
Sen. Dina Neal, D-Las Vegas, said black women, especially, “continue to struggle for equality.”
Heidi Gansert, R-Reno, said the amendment, “contains powerful words that can change people’s lives.”
Gansert also said she has been assured by LCB Legal that SJR8 does not compromise religious freedom and won’t prohibit gender specific sports.
“I can find no part of it that is anything but equality under the law,” said Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas. “This is a question of justice, period.”
He was joined by fellow Republicans Ben Kieckhefer of Reno, Joe Hardy of Boulder City, Keith Pickard of Henderson and James Settelmeyer of Minden.