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July 1, 2015

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Tax committee chair OK with hearing on Las Vegas prostitution

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The chair of the Assembly Taxation Committee is open to hearing proposals to legalize prostitution in Las Vegas.

"Everything's on the table," said Assemblywoman Kathy McClain, D-Las Vegas. "It's going to be an interesting buffet."

Earlier this week, Sen. Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas, and chair of the Senate Taxation Committee, told the Las Vegas Sun he would consider legalizing prostitution in Las Vegas and other urban areas of Nevada as a way to earn the state revenue and regulate the industry. Currently, state law prohibits prostitution in any county with more than 400,000 people.

Coffin said he has received "atta boys" since he floated the proposal. He maintained he has not decided whether to support such legalization, just that he would grant a hearing to the idea.

Other reactions have been less than warm to the idea.

"I burn them down," said Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno.

In the 1960s, when Raggio was the Washoe County District Attorney, he locked horns with brothel owner Joe Conforte. After getting a court order declaring Conforte's Mustang Ranch a public nuisance, Raggio helped burn down the brothel.

"I abated the nuisance," Raggio said at the time. Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford declined to address the idea before a budget hearing this week, saying he was focusing on the governor's proposed budget.

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