Lyon County approves ballot question on legal prostitution

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YERINGTON, Nev. (KOLO) UPDATE: :The Lyon County Board of Commissioners has unanimously voted to approve a resolution to place an Advisory Question on the November ballot to address the brothel question. The question reads:

"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?"

ORIGINAL STORY: Legal brothels exist in several rural Nevada counties, but voters have rarely been asked to weigh in on the issue. After a vote by the Lyon County Commission Thursday county residents will apparently have that opportunity this November.

Those expecting a full debate about merits or morality of legalized prostitution left the commission chambers disappointed. The issue before the commissioners was narrow and simple.

Faced with the possibility of a binding referendum closing the county's existing brothels or leaving the current ordinance in place, but untouchable except by another vote of the people, the commissioners were considering their own ballot question--a simple, non-binding yes or no poll on the public's attitude.

That referendum, it was noted, would leave the county without the ability to react quickly to future concerns, and that seemed to make sense to those on either side of the issue, as long as the voters could register their thoughts.

So, the vote was unanimous to choose the advisory question alternative.

The debate itself will now no longer wait for the gathering of signatures to force the referendum, and it was already underway in the hallway and sidewalk outside the county building.

"I hope it's going to be a simple process by which when the people of the county speak there's going to be a overwhelming majority of folks, good folks, who will say 'we really don't want this industry in our community," said Pastor Gary Leist of the Calvary Chapel in Dayton Valley.

Ruby Rae, a self-described legal prostitute at one of the brothels who says she's studying for a master's degree, says she will tell her story in the months ahead worries about her future.

"I don't want to lose my job. I don't want the 200-plus staff to lose their jobs. I don't want the 500 working girls to lose their jobs."

The commissioners will see that proposed ballot question at their June 7th meeting. They are expected to approve it. Months of debate will follow. The voters will have their say in November.