Bill seeking to legitimize street food vendors in Nevada introduced

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 12:46 AM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - You may see them outside Allegiant Stadium after a game or even on the Strip selling hot dogs and other foods, but if those street food vendors are legally allowed to sell food at those locations has been an issue. Now there is a push to change the law.

“I have seen firsthand the unfair treatment towards street vendors as a son of a former street vendor. I witnessed how my parents faced some horrific experiences. I was 7 years old when I saw the police throw away my parents fruit that put food on our table and a roof over our heads… I felt scared they were going to separate my family,” Marico Garcia Lopez testified before the Nevada Senate Committee on Government Affairs Wednesday afternoon. Garcia Lopez asserted when his parents sold oranges in Las Vegas, they were treated like criminals for trying to make a living.

“My grandmother and my mom would go door-to-door to sell tamales to make ends meet,” shared State Senator Fabian Donate. Donate, who introduced the bill, says it will offer much needed protection. Senate Bill 92 would create a pathway to legitimize street food vendors in Nevada.

“Legalizing street vending not only protects their livelihoods but also reduces the risk of fines, arrest and even deportation,” argued Jose Rivera in support of the street food vendors bill.

According to Senator Donate, the number of sidewalk vendors in Nevada has increased over the years, they are mostly of Latino/immigrant backgrounds, and every county and city in the state has different regulations for them.

“You mentioned that some of the roaming street vendors were concerned about the Board of Health following them around, but I mean the Board of Health is there to protect citizens who purchase food from getting food-borne illnesses,” Senator Lisa Krasner pointed out during the hearing. Krasner expressed concern about ensuring the safety of the public who consumes the food street vendors sell.

“I worry about the cleanliness and the health standards and where do they wash their hands if they are roaming,” Krasner questioned. Senator Donate proposes certificates could be displayed by vendors who are going through permitting processes to let the public know their food is safe to consume.

Many people gathered with signs of support outside the Grant Sawyer Building in Las Vegas before the meeting say they want a path to legitimacy.

“We believe in making it easier rather than harder for everyone to accomplish their dreams and goals,” said Arianna Venezuela whose family owns Bonito Michoacán.

There was no vote on the bill Wednesday. It was only a hearing to introduce the legislation. FOX5 will keep you updated if it does move forward.