Senator Harry Reid Wants to Ban Brothels in Nevada

Feb 23, 2011 11:00 AM PST
CARSON CITY, Nev. — U.S. Senator Harry Reid wants to ban brothels in Nevada.

The democratic senate majority leader said it’s time for Nevada to outlaw prostitution so the silver state can attract more investment and businesses.

While addressing a joint session of the Nevada Senate and Assembly, Reid told lawmakers, "We should do everything we can to make sure the world holds Nevada in the same high regard you and I do. If we want to attract business to Nevada that puts people back to work, the time has come for us to outlaw prostitution.”

But Reid’s ideas have caused a firestorm of controversy and head-scratching from officials and citizens alike as to why the senator would propose the outlawing of prostitution — a source of state revenue.

"I frankly don't understand why the good senator is concerning himself with this issue when there are huge problems to be solved in Washington, D.C.," said Richard Osborn, the county manager for Nye County.

Osborn reportedly said that the taxes raised by legal brothels help other programs and in 2010 more than $150,000 was paid and that money was used to for veterans' care and ambulance service in Nye County.

Dennis Hof, owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Nevada told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Reid is attacking the civil rights of the women who work in brothels.

"These women have a right to work. He should be proud of us. We have a clean industry," Hof said.

And Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, said he's never heard that brothels detract from getting new businesses to come to Nevada noting that prostitution is a local issue.

Lance Gilman, owner of the Mustang Ranch and Wild Horse Resort stated in a news release that it is illegal prostitution that includes underage girls and "repulsive" pimps that tarnishes the image of Nevada not legally operated establishments.

"As we understand it, the legislative agenda is busy addressing a multi-billion dollar shortfall. The legal brothel industry helps support the small rural counties where they are located, and thus this action seems unwise," Gilman said.

There are 10 rural Nevada counties (under 400,000 residents) that permit legal prostitution where brothels are licensed, taxed and regulated.

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