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A bill that decriminalizes sidewalk vendors in residential areas is now law

A street food cart
Maria Palma
A street food cart on April 4, 2023, in Sparks, Nevada.

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Governor Joe Lombardo signed Senate Bill 92 into law, which regulates sidewalk vending in Clark and Washoe counties.

The legislation prohibits penalties for street vendors who sell food in residential areas.

However, it penalizes vendors if they operate within 1,500 feet of certain locations including resort hotels, event facilities and convention facilities.

For any violation, vendors may face a criminal, civil or administrative penalty decided by the board of county commissioners. The maximum criminal penalty is a misdemeanor.

The bill’s original intent was to decriminalize street vending in all areas, said Senator Fabian Doñate. The legislation changed to include those restrictions because of pushback received from the cities and casinos.

“It's not what we envisioned from the beginning. But it's a bill that still helps everyone out and still helps out the people who are street food vendors,” Doñate said.

Counties and cities will monitor and regulate where street food vendors can operate.

“So they can put restrictions on how far they have to be from election sites, or if they have to be away from venues such as concert venues, athletic stadiums, etcetera. Any complaints that they get from there will be referred to the city officials versus the police,” Doñate said.

This law acknowledges street vendor’s contributions to the state, said Jose Rivera from Make the Road Nevada, a Las Vegas-based nonprofit organization that promotes justice for Latino immigrants.

“This has been a success. After two years of hard work, we are very happy after the signing of Senate Bill 92. We had different identities across the valley working together to make a decision to legitimize street vending,” Rivera said.

The legislation also creates the Task Force on Safe Sidewalk Vending and requires local health boards to adopt certain regulations.

Maps of the zones where a person may sell food will be available online once the Washoe and Clark commissions approve them.

Maria joined KUNR Public Radio in December 2022 as a staff reporter. She is interested in stories about underserved communities, immigration, arts and culture, entertainment, education and health.
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