Although a bill to outlaw legal brothels failed in the Nevada Legislature, the owner of two brothels in Storey County said the issue is not dead.
“No, we are not in the clear,” said Lance Gilman, owner and operator of the Mustang Ranch and Wild Horse Ranch brothels and a Storey County commissioner.
A bill sponsored by state Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, to eliminate legal prostitution in rural Nevada counties failed to meet a legislative deadline to advance.
Gilman told host Sam Shad on Nevada Newsmakers that the bill could be come back later in the legislative session. “The last 10 days of the session, as you know, are pretty wild and they drop the rules, so who knows what will happen with it,” he said.
Another brothel bill remains in play in Carson City. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Leslie Cohen, D-Henderson, it would create a committee to study working conditions at Nevada brothels.
Gilman supports the measure.
“Our legal industry has not been looked at for approximately 40 years and it deserves oversight,” he said. “I think you and I can agree that there is not an industry that does not benefit by a certain amount of oversight. We could all do better at what we do, whether it be CPAs or attorneys or the drug industry, you name it.”
The brothel bills in the Legislature were proposed after voters in Lyon County overwhelming rejected a ballot question to outlaw brothels in 2018. A similar ballot question in Nye County failed to get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, Gilman said.
The Legislature’s focus on Nevada’s legal sex trade is taking attention away from a bigger problem — illegal prostitution and sex trafficking, including under-age girls, in Reno and Las Vegas, Gilman said.
“The tragedy is they are changing the focus,” Gilman said. “In the illegal industry, it is controlled by predators. It is controlled by gangs and associations and the ladies who are captured in that are treated in a horrible manner.”
Gillman said he has invited Hardy to come talk to brothel workers and learn more.
He may have spoken to “a disgruntled employee or independent contractor in the past, and I don’t know of any industry where someone isn’t disgruntled in the industry. But come and talk to the ladies,” Gillman said.