Supporters of SB946

Supporters of SB946

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Ricardo Lara

Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 17 signed a bill to decriminalize sidewalk vending and give cities the right to set up permit systems for street vendors.

SB 496, by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, prohibits criminal penalties for sidewalk vending. Those vendors previously convicted under local anti-vending laws will be allowed to petition the court for dismissal of the sentence.

The bill also allows cities to set up permit systems and licensing fees for sidewalk vendors.

The city of Los Angeles decriminalized sidewalk vending early last year and has been working for three years to craft a permit system for vendors. But most of Los Angeles County’s other 87 cities have not moved to set up vendor permit systems and many still have anti-vending laws in place.

“With Senate Bill 946 we can start seeing sidewalk vendors for who they are – women and seniors, single parents, and micro-business owners taking that first step to starting their own business,” Sen. Lara said in a statement. “Governor Brown’s signature validates that thousands of sidewalk vendors are an important part of our economy, whose hard work supports their families and gives California its unique flavor.”

Economy, education, energy and transportation reporter Howard Fine can be reached at hfine@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.