Thursday, March 7, 2013 | 11:53 a.m.
A bill adding attacks on transgender persons to a list of hate crimes and stiffening the penalty for offenders was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today.
Sen. Patricia Spearman, D-Las Vegas, the sponsor of SB139, said the committee has shown justice in its passage.
The measure, which goes to the full Senate for a vote, allows an additional sentence of up to 20 years if the attack was motivated by the transgender of an individual.
The victim also would have the opportunity to file a civil suit against a person convicted of the crime. The bill adds “gender identity” — meaning that a person switched his or her “identity, appearance, expression or behavior regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth” — to the list in the law of race, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, and sexual orientation.
Extra sentences can be imposed on offenders if it is proved that the crime was motivated by one of these factors.
Sen. Greg Brower, R-Reno, said this legislation “does not give special rights to any group.” He said it would be up to a judge after conviction to determine if the offender singled out the victim because of his gender identity.
Before passage, the committee agreed to an amendment that expanded the list of hate crimes. It refers to the FBI list of crimes that fall into this category.