This week read about Gov. Steve Sisolak signing legislation to support the LGBT community in Nevada, and the Walton Family Foundation donating money to groups that support LGBT people in Arkansas.
Nevada Governor Celebrates Pride With LGBT Protections
Gov. Steve Sisolak signed five pieces of legislation at the Henderson Pride Festival last week, introducing changes in education, business, and medicine to better support the LGBT community.
A.B. 261 requires instruction from kindergarten to senior high school to “accurately portray the history and contributions to science, the arts and humanities” of people from diverse backgrounds, including “persons of marginalized sexual orientation or gender identity.” The law also requires schools to highlight the contributions of those from different religious and economic backgrounds.
S.B. 275 decriminalizes transmission of HIV, S.B. 109 requires local officials to collect demographic information that includes LGBT individuals, and S.B. 237 allows LGBT business owners to opt-in as “minority-owned” when applying for grants. S.B. 325 requires the State Board of Pharmacy to create a protocol for pharmacists to prescribe HIV prevention treatment, and requires Medicaid and other insurance programs for state and local government employees to cover costs of testing and prevention drugs.
Though the laws are a win for LGBT Nevadans, there were several bills involving trans rights that died during the legislative session. Gender Justice Nevada Executive Director Sy Bernabei told the Nevada Current, “Even though we have a progressive body right now and some really great lawmakers, we still couldn’t get through what we should have.”
Walton Family Foundation Donates $1M to Arkansas LGBT Groups
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As lawmakers continue to strip transgender Arkansans of their rights, members of one of the country’s richest families have stepped in to support the LGBT community with $1 million in grants.
According to a statement from the Walton Family Foundation, the philanthropic organization led by the descendants of Walmart founder Sam Walton, the fund will distribute grants of $25,000 and above to Arkansas-based LGBT organizations that provide “legal, health, education and advocacy services, along with other high-demand needs.”
This year alone, Arkansas legislators have passed two transgender medical care and sports bans, and two religious refusal bills. Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas filed a lawsuit against the state’s ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth.
Olivia and Tom Walton, representatives of the foundation, said in a statement, “Our state is in a moment of reflection where each of us must send a message of acceptance to the LGBTQ community that says ‘you belong here.’ It is also a time for action by recognizing LGBTQ Arkansans face growing challenges that need community-driven solutions.”