Nye County scraps six-hour-leave restriction for sex workers

Thinkstock The issue controversy surrounded the proposed code language that would impose a restriction on prostitutes working in brothels, limiting the amount of time they could be off-premises to just six hours every 10-day period.Special to the Pahrump Valley Times Sheri's Ranch brothel in Pahrump is seen in a 2014 photo.

Nye County is currently considering making several changes to Nye County Code Title 9, which regulates the brothel industry and one of the proposed changes, a six-hour leave rule, sparked outrage from many, particularly courtesans and advocates of the industry.

However, Nye County has now backed off that proposed language, which is no longer included in the draft to be addressed at the public hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. on Dec. 17 in the Nye County Commission Chambers in Pahrump.

The dispute surrounded the proposed code language that would impose a restriction on prostitutes working in brothels, limiting the amount of time they could be off-premises to just six hours every 10-day period.

That proposal also called for limiting the hours during which courtesans would be allowed to leave the brothel property at which they work to 8 a.m. through 3 p.m.

Under that rule, if a courtesan were to leave the brothel outside of the allowed time or for more than six hours every 10 days, they would be required to undergo medical testing before being permitted to return to work.

Several people had criticized the regulation as over-burdensome, unfair and possibly even illegal.

Nye County had conducted a public-input period in which citizens were able to submit their comments on the proposed changes and legal prostitution advocate Jeremy Lemur was one who seized the opportunity.

“If you were told that you are allowed to leave your place of work for only six hours every ten days, and only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., would you feel that you were being treated unfairly? Of course you would! Most red-blooded Americans would never stand for such obviously oppressive restrictions on their freedom,” Lemur wrote in his comments.

Well-known conservative advocate Chuck Muth, who helped work on the successful 2018 campaign of late brothel owner Dennis Hof, also submitted a statement.

“We’re not talking about the private rules of a private business as established between the private business and a courtesan working under an agreement as an independent contractor,” Muth wrote in part. “What we’re talking about here is the government locking down and restraining the freedom of adult women working in a legal business to come and go as they please even when not working. Again, you cannot make the argument that this ‘lock-down’ rule is to protect the public health since it is perfectly possible to pick up an STD while away from the brothel premises for less than six hours.”

The fervor should now die down some, as Nye County officials have confirmed that the “six-hour leave per 10 days” rule has officially been scrapped from the code amendments. Instead, the code has reverted back to the original language that calls for required medical testing for any courtesan who leaves the brothel premises for more than 24 hours, which has been a longstanding regulation in Nye County.

Many other changes to the code are still incorporated in the proposal that will go before the Nye County Commission for final approval, including numerous alterations to definitions and the addition of an entire new section to address exceptions to the non-transferable license regulation.

To view the proposed code changes visit www.nyecounty.net and click on the Meetings Center link. The document is included with the Nye County Commission’s Oct. 15 agenda.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com