The passage of the Nikki Kuhnhausen Act has the state of Washington poised to become the tenth one to ban the trans and gay panic defenses.
It was named for Nikki Kuhnhausen, the Vancouver, WA trans teen who was murdered after a June 6 date with David Bognadov, but whose remains weren’t found until December 7.
The 25 year old Bogdanovwas arrested on December 17, and is now awaiting trial for her murder.
Nikki’s Law was originally introduced in 2019 by then state Rep. Derek Stanford (D-Bothell) , but stalled in the House Rules Committee that year. After Kuhnhausen’s disappearance and the finding of her remains, the bill was revived, with an amendment from Rep. Sharon Wylie (D-Vancouver) naming it for her.
Stanford is now a member of the Washington Senate.
“Just finding out someone’s gender or sexual orientation should never be a justification for attacking that person,” Stanford stated in a press release. “Sadly, this excuse is still used sometimes to try to justify violent assaults. This bill will make sure that it can’t be used by people who commit violent acts.”
Washington State Senator Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver) noted that while Nikki’s death was a catalyst for the bill passing, the tremendous need for this legislation predates Nikki’s date.
“The terrible truth is that vicious assaults have been perpetrated against transgender people, as well as others in the LGBTQ community, for far too long,” Sen. Cleveland’s statement read. “This bill is a start. It is long overdue, and we must still do more.”
It passed out of the Democratically controlled Washington House on a 90-5 vote last month and just passed out of the Washington Senate by a 46-3 margin a few days ago.
The bill is now awaiting Gov Jay Inslee’s (D) signature to become law. .