Back in 1995, I purchased KRLV. A few months later, we got a visit from the Clark County license Nazi who told me that I needed a license to run a radio station in Clark County Nevada.
I told him that I had one. It was issued by the Federal Communications Commission in Washington DC and, the last time I checked, the interstate commerce clause exempted such operations from local regulation.
In a scene reminiscent of the movie Casino, he told me, menacingly, he’d be back.
I beat him to the punch and brought my FCC lawyer to see than District Attorney Stew Bell. Bell asked what the problem was, we told him and he slapped his forehead like Bull Shannon in Night Court and said, "Oh yeah…that’s why we can’t license Federally chartered banks, either."
We never got that visit from the clown in the licensing department, but do you think that the County got rid of that particular ordinance?
It is not only still on the books but a check of the County’s records shows that many radio and television stations still buy a license each year which, if they were to read the actual ordinance, would have to have been approved back in 1999 by a County Commission, the majority of which is now in prison for official corruption.
Oh, yes, guess who also has a license.
The Las Vegas Review Journal which just did an editorial pointing out how silly and unconstitutional such licenses are.
Why are these licenses applied for?
Getting along and going along.
I am proud to tell you that KRLV under my ownership refused to purchase a County license and this newspaper refused to renew a city business license after the city refused to remove wording from the ordinance which would allow them to stop us from publishing.
And, since you are reading this, you can see that we’re still here.
This all came to a head last week when the County Commission stopped the licensing of a psychic because they had questions about her background.
Since there is plenty of case law which would indicate that telling fortunes is protected by the first amendment, we have a question.
Why is Clark County licensing fortune tellers? Or about 80 per cent of the rest of the businesses it tries to license.
The law of the land is pretty clear.
A state must have a compelling state purpose—usually life, health or safety—before it can license an activity. And then, they are only allowed to charge a fee which covers the cost of issuing the license and regulating the activity.
What compelling state purpose is served by licensing most businesses? Keep in mind, now, it had better not be raising money because that would be against the case law.
We understand why the county would want to license liquor and gaming. But explain how licensing fortune tellers serves a compelling public purpose. Or newspapers or radio stations.
On a related subject:
You would have to be on another planet to not know that the police busted about 25 people running brothels in their apartments last week.
When are they going to bust the Asian massage parlors? Or does the fact that they are licensed by the city and the county protect them?
Or is massage with a happy ending a constitutionally protected activity?
Inquiring minds would like to know.