Governor signs law to legalize street food vending in Nevada

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 12:50 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - It has been a gray area of Nevada law. Where can street food vendors set up? Can they get a permit? It is something FOX5 has been following for months. Wednesday, Governor Lombardo signed a bill into law regulating the industry, something many have long been pushing for.

“We have street vendors across the Valley becoming criminalized,” explained Jose Rivera, with Make the Road Nevada, a nonprofit organization based in Las Vegas. The organization advocates for street vendors who are mostly of Latino and immigrant backgrounds.

“I was seven years old when I saw the police throw away my parents fruit that put food on our table and a roof over our heads,” recounted Marico Garcia Lopez as he testified before a Senate committee that his parents sold oranges in Las Vegas and were treated like criminals as they were just trying to make a living.

The Southern Nevada Health District has warned about buying food from street vendors because without a permit, they cannot verify food safety. During enforcement campaigns in Las Vegas, street food has been confiscated.

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

“This opens up opportunities for so many families,” Rivera asserted. The new law mandates local boards of health create a regulatory process, a way people can apply for permit and license, to be recognized as a legitimate business allowing vendors to operate legally and without fear of having what they are selling seized and giving people who buy the food assurance it is safe to eat.

It is now up to local health districts to define the process for a street vendor to get a license. They have to do so by the end of July.

Who will enforce the new permitting process? That will be decided as local health districts work through setting up the permitting process.