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IndyBlog | Local Government | Sex Industry

Brothel ban supporters concede they won't get question on Nye County ballot

A sign promoting Sheri's Ranch brothel located in the outskirts of Pahrump on Thursday, April 19, 2018. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

Organizers of an effort to ban brothels in Nye County have conceded the measure won’t make it onto the ballot this cycle.

Jason Guinasso, an attorney who’s helping coordinate similar efforts in both Nye and Lyon counties, told The Nevada Independent on Monday that the campaign wasn’t able to secure enough support from Nye County commissioners to call a special meeting and approve language for the ballot ahead of a mid-July deadline. The campaign could have forced the question on the ballot through a referendum petition, but was several hundred signatures short of the 1,963 needed to do so when volunteers ceased the campaign.  

“I don’t consider it a failure,” Guinasso said. “One of the big impetuses of this is to raise awareness — I think we’ve done a good job of raising awareness.”

Guinasso said the group started relatively late in the election cycle and didn’t use paid signature-gatherers, which could have improved the prospects of the measure.

A pro-brothel campaign called Nye County Freedom countered the anti-brothel campaign, arguing that legal prostitution is a relatively unique liberty and taking it away could lead to the curtailment of other freedoms.

Guinasso said the plan is to continue outreach in the county and pursue a ban later, perhaps in  2020.

Lyon County, which had an even higher signature threshold for petitions than Nye County, already decided to take the advisory question route. That will give voters a chance to weigh in on whether they support keeping prostitution legal, and commissioners can decide whether to heed that advice and implement a ban.

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