GaystarNews jumps the gun on “gay panic” bill on Nevada

Nevada State Senate Floor

London based GayStarNews reported yesterday April 17,  Nevada had passed a bill to ban the “gay panic” or “trans panic” defense with the headline “Nevada bans “gay panic” defense.  That story was rapidly shared by many on social media but was incorrect. The bill, SB 97  had simply passed out of its house of origin by the April 23 deadline. The State Senate approved the bill 19-2, sending it to the Assembly for consideration.

therenogaypage informed GayStarNews by email of the story’s incorrectness but it appears some minor corrections were made to the story which still contains mis information. No note of the story being corrected or updated was made.  The GayStarNews story call SB97(Senate Bill) simply Bill 97 and that the governor will sign the bill. The online news service did add to its original story that the bill was sitting in an Assembly committee. A new headline, “Nevada moves towards banning “gay Panic” defense“, was written.

For a bill to become law in Nevada, bill starts in one house (Senate or Assembly) by being introduced on the house floor and then sent to the appropriate committee for consideration and public hearing. If the committee votes to recommend passage, the bill goes back to the house floor for a vote. Passage in one house sends it to the other house to repeat the process.  Sometimes language gets changed and needs consent in the original house again. If the bill passes with out changes in the second house the bill goes to the Governor to be signed into law or vetoed.

SB97 after its passage in the State Senate was sent to the Assembly, read on the floor and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee. It is now awaiting a public hearing in the Judiciary Committee. Not date has been set for that hearing. The bill is expected to move through the Assembly and pass.  If that does occur, the Governor, Steve Sisolak (D) is expected to sign the bill.

The defense is usually used against charges of assault or murder. A defendant using the defense claims they acted in a state of violent temporary insanity because of unwanted same-sex sexual advances. The defendant alleges to find the same-sex sexual advances so offensive and frightening that it brings on a psychotic state characterized by unusual violence. Nevada’s proposed law would include sexual orientation and gender identity to the panic defense ban.

Only three states, California, Illinois and Rhode Island have banned the defense. At present Nevada, Hawaii and New York are considering banning it as bills move through state legislatures.

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