Nevada made history in 2019 when it became the first state in our nation’s history to elect a female majority legislature. That same year, Nicole became the first woman ever elected as Majority Leader of the Nevada Senate. Nicole has a long track record of fighting for women’s rights and women’s access to health care because she understands the importance of equality for all.
In 2017, Nevada became the first state in 40 years to ratify the United States Equal Rights Amendment, which Nicole helped pass. The legislation put Nevada on the map as a leader on women’s rights issues. In 2019, Nicole built on that effort by sponsoring a state Equal Rights Amendment to the Nevada Constitution, which will go to a vote of the people in 2022 upon second passage by the Nevada Legislature during the 2021 Session. For Nicole, one of the biggest barriers to women’s equality is the gender pay gap, and that’s why she worked to pass equal pay for equal work.
Nicole has also fought for a women’s reproductive freedoms, sponsoring the Trust Nevada Women Act, which cleaned up antiquated laws governing a woman’s right to choose and updated informed consent laws to ensure women’s conversations with their doctors pertain only to medical standards of care. The bill was passed at a time when other state legislatures around the country were restricting women’s reproductive freedoms.
Nicole has expanded access to birth control, passing legislation that allowed women to pick up a 12 month supply. In 2019, she sponsored a bill requiring Nevada’s Chief Medical Officer to write a standing prescription for contraception so that women can get birth control at the pharmacy through their insurance without having to go to their doctor for a prescription first. While that legislation ultimately did not pass in the Assembly, passing this bill in the 2021 legislative session is a top priority for Nicole.
Nicole worked to establish a state-funded family planning grant program, and in 2019, invested $6 million in Family Planning Services in order to increase Nevada women’s access to health care, including critical preventative measures like breast and cervical cancer screenings. Nicole also took the lead on passing legislation that expanded the types of cancer covered as occupational diseases for Nevada’s first responders to include cancers associated with women, like breast cancer and cervical cancer.
Nicole created the Nevada Pregnant Workers' Fairness Act to provide protections to female employees and applicants for employment who are affected by a condition of the employee or applicant relating to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition She also helped pass legislation that required employers to make accommodations for nursing mothers. The bill requires all public and private employers except businesses with fewer than 50 employees and contractors to provide a “reasonable break time” and a “clean, private place” to accommodate a nursing mother.
For Nicole, being the first woman to serve as Majority Leader of the Nevada Senate has been far more than symbolic. She has worked to even the playing field for Nevada women, and she’ll continue to fight for women’s equality.