Reid’s not the first

Reid’s not the first

News stories that followed U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s speech proposing abolition of brothel prostitution in Nevada have made it sound like Reid was isolated as the only major figure taking that stance and that there is no evidence of companies considering relocating to Nevada that objected to the brothels.

In fact, this whole dispute unfolded previously in 1988 when leading business figures called for a ban on the brothels. Casino executive Steve Wynn wrote to every state legislator to ask that the brothels be shut down: “We have outgrown legalized prostitution. … It is not good for Nevada’s image to have … legalized ‘cat houses.’ The sooner we put that image behind us the better we will be.”

Taking the same position were Jim Joyce—then the state’s leading business lobbyist—and Sig Rogich, a prominent Nevada Republican consultant then advising President Reagan.

Joyce said, “Prostitution isn’t good for Nevada’s image.”

Rogich said, “Maybe it’s time to get rid of it.”

The state economic development division also reported that of 23 companies recently relocated to the state who responded to a survey, 14 considered legal prostitution a liability to the state and 9 disagreed.

Four years later, in 1992, brothels opponent John Reese surveyed the 21 state senators and found that 16 supported outlawing the brothels.