SACRAMENTO — The California Legislature has passed the Safe Sidewalk Vending Act (Senate Bill 946), which gives sidewalk vendors across the state a path to start a legal business without fear of arrest.
If signed into law by Governor Brown, SB 946 will prohibit criminal penalties for sidewalk vending and allow cities to establish permit programs for vendors.
“Sidewalk vendors are like any small business working to make it in our state,” said Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). “SB 946 will protect vulnerable sidewalk vendors and create new opportunity for entrepreneurship and economic mobility while still preserving local control.”
Under SB 946, local governments may require sidewalk vendors to obtain a business license and abide by state tax laws, just like other businesses. Vendors who were previously convicted of anti-vending laws may petition the court for dismissal of the sentence.
Senator Lara introduced SB 946 in response to stories of arrests and harassment of vendors. Last year ICE agents detained a sidewalk vendor and mother of four in Rancho Cucamonga after she was arrested for selling corn. An immigration judge ordered her release after community protests.
A recent survey of Los Angeles vendors found that 80% are women and many are seniors. Harassment or arrests of vendors strikes at families and at those on fixed incomes.