Harry Reid: It's Time for Nevada to Outlaw Prostitution

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Apparently prostitution, a.k.a. the world's oldest profession, is a turn-off to folks trying to win the future.

So says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who is urging state leaders to outlaw prostitution in Nevada in a bid to woo new businesses to the economically devastated state. The forward-looking businesses of tomorrow, he says, are repelled by Nevada's wild reputation and hesitant to move into offices near brothels.

Reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal about a speech Reid gave Tuesday in Carson City:

"If we want to attract business to Nevada that puts people back to work, the time has come for us to outlaw prostitution," Reid said in an address to the Legislature.

The Senate majority leader, who learned to swim as a child at a brothel in his hardscrabble hometown of Searchlight, said licensed brothels tarnish the state's image and scare away potential employers at a time when Nevada is desperate for new investment.

Reid said he recently met with a businessman who was considering opening a new facility in Storey County but expressed concern about the brothels there....

Nevada is the only state that allows its counties to tax and regulate brothels, though prostitution remains illegal in several counties including Clark and Washoe.

The brothel business dates back to Nevada's frontier beginnings, but the state did not legalize and regulate the practice until 1971. The Mustang Ranch, Nevada's first licensed brothel, opened in Storey County the following year.

Today, there are 24 licensed brothels open for business in 10 rural counties.

Reid said it's time for that to change.

"So let's have an adult conversation about an adult subject," he said. "Nevada needs to be known as the first place for innovation and investment, not as the last place where prostitution is still legal. When the nation thinks about Nevada, it should think about the world's newest ideas and newest careers, not about its oldest profession."


Read the full story at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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