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Nevada Democrats pass ‘last-minute’ amendment to fine schools for bathroom and sports policies

A last-minute amendment, labeled 674 of AB 423, was approved by Democratic senators in the Nevada legislature last Friday.

This amendment sanctions any school board that attempts to limit biological males from accessing girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms or participating in girls’ sports.

Nevada Department of Education can impose $5,000 fines

Securing 12 votes from the Democrats (with one excused) and eight opposing votes from Republicans, this amendment gives the Nevada Department of Education the power to impose a $5,000 daily fine on school boards that infringe on the rights of biological boys to participate in “school facilities or activities,” as detailed in the amendment’s text.

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Sen. Ira Hansen (R-Sparks) criticized the late introduction of this amendment, expressing his concern in a tweet about the “abuse of power” involved in bringing the amendment to vote without sufficient time for review or “hearing at the last minute.”

Speaking on the Senate floor, Sen. Hansen voiced his understanding of the amendment’s intention to remove “the right of school boards to block biological males from going into biological female bathrooms, locker rooms, or any sporting events” and sought further clarification.

Sen. Fabian clarifies intent of the amendment

PhotoCredit: @fabiandonate on Instagram

Sen. Fabian Doñate (D-Carson City), the sponsor of this amendment, quoted directly from the text to clarify its intent:

“A board of trustees shall not adopt a policy that limits the access of a pupil because of race, religious creed, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ancestry, familial status or sex, to school facilities or activities.”

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He further affirmed that the quote summarised the amendment’s content quite comprehensively.

Sen. Hansen observed that the original bill enjoyed broad support in the Assembly, but the amendment sparked controversy, especially given its last-minute introduction.

He advised the Senate to withdraw the floor amendment, urging a more comprehensive discussion before casting votes.’

Amendment referred to as the ‘Bud Light Amendment’

“I would call this amendment the Bud Light Amendment. That is a major controversy across this state. There’s an enormous backlash across this country on this very issue, and to do this as a floor amendment and not have any hearings and put it on a bill that originally was fine is absolutely an abuse of the process,” he commented.

Erin Phillips, president of parental rights advocacy group Power2Parent, criticized the imposition of fines on local school boards, describing it as the equivalent of holding them hostage to a radical ideology that’s not in harmony with the wishes of the local community and parents – the actual stakeholders.

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‘Dems are forcing ideology that is unpopular and unsafe’

According to Phillips, parents generally prefer sex-segregated spaces, including in sports. She stated, “Denying the reality of gender in sports and private spaces is disadvantaging our daughters and erasing every gain Title IX afforded women. Dems are forcing ideology on them families that is unpopular and unsafe.”

Nevada’s governor, Joe Lombardo (R), has yet to express his views on the amendment.

This amendment’s introduction came a little over a week after a school district board deliberated a policy that could have restricted transgender students from accessing locker rooms, bathrooms, and sports teams aligning with their gender identity, as indicated in the Douglas County School Board’s May 16 meeting agenda.

However, the vote on this policy was postponed, as reported by the school board.

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