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Nevada's dead bills: From strippers to state dog, it was a no-go

April 25, 2013|By John M. Glionna
  • "Ahhh Nevada. I have to admit, this one made me laugh," historian Michael Green said of one piece of failed legislation. "We won't tax brothels and yet we won't make them completely illegal."
"Ahhh Nevada. I have to admit, this one made me laugh," historian… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)

LAS VEGAS -- Consider it a time capsule of what was and was not politically correct in Nevada this year -- a document that might be unearthed by future inhabitants as a clue to what this often-outlandish desert culture was thinking, or not, in the year 2013.

This is the legislation that didn’t make it -- the dead bills.

The legislative corpses include efforts to legalize marijuana, make motorcyclists wear helmets, tax junk food, outlaw new ownership of dangerous pets and, yes, even choose a state dog.

“In 20,000 years when people from the planet Zork arrive here and go into our archives, they’re going to look at this list and say one of two things,” said Michael Green, a historian at the College of Southern Nevada.

“They’re either going to say, 'These people were nuts' or 'No wonder they’re not still here.’

"Or both.”

Nevada's legislative session began Feb. 4 and ended this month. Sifting through the bills' graveyard, Green said, some things surprised him; others didn’t.

A legislative judiciary committee let a bill to legalize the recreational use of marijuana die without a vote, no doubt disappointing visitors for this year’s Burning Man Festival.

“I thought the marijuana bill could have passed considering our state’s libertarian heritage -- you know, let people do whatever they want,” Green said. “But it shows Nevada has never truly been libertarian and is moving toward the conservative in many areas.”

Green also clucked his tongue on the failure of Senate Bill 413, which would have required strippers to be at least 21. Some as young as 18 are now allowed to dance completely nude in so called “juice bars.”

“Ahhh, Nevada. I have to admit, this one made me laugh,” Green said. “We won’t tax brothels and yet we won’t make them completely illegal.... This one flew under ‘anything is possible.’”

State legislators declined to pass a law to levy a $25 sales tax on gun purchases and a 2-cent tax on each round of ammunition. They didn’t make it legal for people with concealed weapons permits to take their guns onto Nevada college campuses. They didn’t outlaw pedestrians from crossing streets while texting or reading.

And they put their foot down when it came to naming a state canine. The Senate Government Affairs Committee didn’t even vote on Bill 225 to name the blue Weimaraner the official state dog.

Some legislators even ridiculed the bill’s author, who had introduced it on behalf of a 9-year-old constituent.

That measure will be sure to leave visitors from planet Zork scratching their heads.

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john.glionna@latimes.com

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