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New California law decriminalizes sidewalk vendors

Posted: 2:16 PM, Sep 18, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-18 21:16:27Z

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill to make it easier for sidewalk vendors to operate legally in the state.

It's one of the dozens of bills Brown announced signing Monday, including measures to help voters ensure their mail ballots are counted and standardize balcony inspections.

The new sidewalk vending law will let cities and counties create permit programs for vendors and limits when they can be criminally prosecuted.

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"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," said Sen. Ricardo Lara, the Bell Gardens Democrat who authored the bill, SB946. "Gov. Brown's signature validates that thousands of sidewalk vendors are an important part of our economy."

Sidewalk vendors, who typically sell food or other goods, can be required to hold business licenses and pay taxes under the law. Cities and counties can also establish health and safety policies for vendors.

Lara says he introduced the legislation after hearing stories about sidewalk vendors being harassed and arrested. His office pointed to an incident where a woman selling corn on a sidewalk in Rancho Cucamonga was detained by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and later released by an immigration judge.