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L.A. City Council Votes Unanimously to Decriminalize Street Vending

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A street vendor sell fruits and in the Fashion District in Los Angeles in an undated photo. (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

A street vendor sell fruits and in the Fashion District in Los Angeles in an undated photo. (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to decriminalize street vending — a move long sought by immigrant advocates who argued that sidewalk sellers should not face criminal charges that could place them at risk of being deported.

Fearing a coming crackdown on immigrants under President Trump, Los Angeles City Council members Joe Buscaino and Curren Price vowed to stop punishing vending as a crime and to begin setting up a regulated system. In January, the council voted to draft an ordinance decriminalizing vending.

Previously, selling food or goods on the sidewalk could lead to misdemeanor charges in Los Angeles.

City staffers say it could take months for Los Angeles to work out all of the details and begin handing out permits to vendors. In the meantime, vendors who ply their trade on city sidewalks still could be cited and fined for violating the municipal code, but they would not face criminal convictions.

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