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Petition to ban Nye brothels dies before the deadline

Over the past two and a half months, Citizens Against Brothels in Nye County has been heading an effort to see the local prostitution industry eliminated but that endeavor has now met its unsuccessful end.

The citizen’s group filed a petition with the Nye County Clerk’s Office on April 17 and immediately began to collect signatures. The petition was aimed at placing a question on the 2018 General Election ballot addressing whether or not to do away with Nye County’s brothel ordinance and therefore, all brothel operations in the county.

The target was 1,963 signatures of registered voters in Nye County, the required number in order for the group’s petition to move forward. However, as of the June 29 deadline to submit its petition, Citizens Against Brothels had fallen short of its goal.

Salli Kerr, spokeswoman for Citizens Against Brothels in Nye County, said she believed several factors contributed to the unsuccessful result.

“I attribute that to lack of experience and resources,” Kerr explained when reached for comment. “We did not have funding to spend sending people door to door, etcetera but relied on grassroots efforts that just didn’t have enough time between the time the petition was produced and the deadline.”

There had been some discussion by the group about turning to the Nye County Commission in order to have that body submit a ballot question regarding brothels, rather than the citizens’ group. This was reportedly due to the way the citizens’ group’s petition was worded, which could have locked the county into the current code without allowing any future changes unless a vote of the people occurred first.

Commissioners Lorinda Wichman and Butch Borasky had also previously mentioned that they would be interested in the county looking into submitting a brothel question. However, that is now a very narrow possibility, with deadlines yet again the cause.

The commission, as the governing body of a political subdivision, would be required to submit any ballot question to the clerk’s office by July 16. During the commission’s July 3 meeting, there was no agenda item to discuss the proposal. In addition, as the commission’s next regular meeting is not until July 17, the board would not be able to vote on such an action prior to the submission deadline unless a special meeting is called for the purpose of addressing the action.

To learn whether a special meeting was in the works, a request for comment was sent to Nye County Public Information Officer Arnold Knightly, who stated that there were no plans to that effect at the time. “As of right now, there is nothing scheduled,” Knightly stated.

Lyon County effort

Citizens Against Brothels in Nye County was not the only group in Nevada focused on eradicating legal brothel operations but the Lyon County group pushing for the same end did not experience failure with its efforts. The Lyon County group, titled No Little Girl, had been busy gathering the signatures needed for its petition but the drive proved unnecessary after their county officials stepped in.

The Lyon County Commission decided to take the matter into its own hands and in June, the governing body voted unanimously to have an advisory question placed on the Lyon County ballot. That question will ask voters, “Shall the Lyon County Board of Commissioners rescind Title 3, Chapter 5, the Lyon County Brothel Ordinance, in order to end brothels and legalized prostitution in Lyon County, Nevada?”

“We are thrilled that the commissioners of Lyon County recognize the importance of this issue and the timeliness of this vote,” No Little Girl co-founder Kimberly Mull stated in a news release following the decision.

Lyon County voters will now have to decide where their vote will fall come the November 6 general election. If voters pass the advisory question, four of the Silver State’s legal brothel operations will be forced to close their doors. These include the Love Ranch North, Moonlite Bunny Ranch, Kit Kat Guest Ranch and Sagebrush Ranch, all owned by businessman and Republican Nevada Assembly District 36 candidate Dennis Hof.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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