Speaking as a private citizen, Tyra Sablan is hopeful that House Bill 22-18, or the “Hate Crimes Act of 2021,” will be passed by the Senate and enacted into law by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres.
H.B. 22-18, which is authored by Rep. Donald Manglona (Ind-Rota), was unanimously passed by the House of Representatives on June 17 and is awaiting the Senate’s decision on it as of press time Monday. If passed by the Senate, the bill then goes to Torres for signing.
In an interview with her last Friday, Sablan said that she sought community support for the bill and explained that while CNMI’s incidences of hate crimes are much lower than what is seen in the U.S. mainland, having legislation like H.B. 22-18 is needed in the CNMI to maintain its “close-knit community” and “culture of love.”
“I think that everybody feels the same way where we have no room for hate here in the CNMI. It’s all about love, we want to respect each other. The CNMI is very diverse,” said Sablan.
As for the bill’s chances in the Senate, Sablan is hopeful and extends her gratitude to the House for unanimously passing the bill. If H.B. 22-18 does make its way to Torres, Sablan believes he would sign the bill. “[Torres has] been very proactive and very progressive. He’s a big supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and we love him for that,” said Sablan.
Sablan and others will be at the CNMI House of Representatives chamber on Wednesday, participating in the House Committee on Health and Welfare’s first-ever “CNMI Pride Talks.”