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Lawmakers consider weighty issues: sex tax in Nevada and 'Northern scum' in Maryland

April 11, 2009 |  8:46 am

Employees_of_the_Moonlite_BunnyRanch_testify in Carson City Nevada   

While Congress is worrying about how to save Wall Street (and Detroit and PUT YOUR CAUSE HERE), lawmakers in Nevada and Maryland are taking on attention-grabbing issues. Let's start with Nevada.

A legislative committee killed a proposal that would have imposed a $5 state sales tax on the services of prostitutes working in legal brothels. Interestingly, some of the biggest supporters of the tax were brothel owners themselves, who viewed the tax as a way of gaining respectability -- as a way to contribute to the commonweal, so to speak. It was estimated that the tax would bring in $2 million a year to Nevada's depleted coffers.

As our colleague Ashley Powers reported from Carson City, lawmakers heard from brothel owners and sex workers at a hearing on the bill Tuesday. Deanne Salinger, who works at the BunnyRanch as “Air Force Amy,” said, “If $5 a person can raise $2 million a year, I’m all for it.”

But by Thursday, the bill had died in committee.

Meanwhile, in Maryland some lawmakers plan to revisit a touchy issue -- whether to replace the state song, the warlike "Maryland, My Maryland." As the Baltimore Sun reports, a previous effort to scrap the song was squashed. The song, set to a Civil War-era poem, is a reminder of the Southern sympathies many Marylanders held in the 1860s. Here's an arresting stanza:

I hear the distant thunder-hum,
The Old Line's bugle, fife, and drum,
She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb --
Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!
She breathes! she burns! she'll come! she'll come!
Maryland! My Maryland!
Just drips with nostalgia for the old days, doesn't it?

-- Steve Padilla

Photo: Cathleen Allison / Nevada Appeal (Brooke Taylor, left, and Deanne Salinger testify before legislators in Carson City as workers at the Moonlite BunnyRanch, owned by Dennis Hof, right).

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