Tourism Groups Challenge Immigration Petition

LAS VEGAS -- A Nevada assemblyman's attempt to get Nevada a law like Arizona's new immigration legislation is being challenged by some big names. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the Nevada Resort Association have filed a legal challenge to the immigration initiative petition.

Republican Assemblyman Chad Christensen started the petition weeks ago. The American Civil Liberties Union has already filed a suit against the initiative and with the LVCVA and Resort Association on board, the petition is facing some tough challenges.

Rossi Ralenkotter with the LVCVA says a law like Arizona's would hurt an already struggling convention attraction.

"We've already seen in Phoenix, they've announced they've lost over $90 million in corporate meetings as a result of the law that was passed. Unfortunately, people and organizations sometimes want to use travel as a way to protest something. It's unfortunate that our industry is singled out for that because it does impact people's jobs," he said.

The LVCVA has already lost millions of dollars in tourism because of conventions canceling due to the economy.

Christensen says volunteers across the state are working to gather the more than 97,000 signatures needed for the initiative to be included in the 2011 legislative session. He says comparing what may happen in Nevada to what happened to Arizona's tourism is unfair.

"I've spoken to my legislative friends in Arizona. What is that based on, that is somebody's wild guess. They weren't able to give me an answer on that because the answer is, we don't know. Is it because it was a down economy or something else," he said.

Christensen says he hasn't talked to the LVCVA or the Resort Association one on one about the issue. He hopes to sit with them and see why they are against the petition that he says will only help Nevada.


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