Atlanta Continues Tormenting Street Vendors with New Regulations

Chaos! Utter chaos!In October, Reason Intern Jess
updated readers
with the latest about Atlanta’s war on street
vendors. The city revoked the business permits of independent
vendors and handed the rights to sell to a monopoly. The Institute
for Justice represented some of the affected vendors and fought
back. A judge ruled in their favor last year, but rather than
comply, Mayor Kasim Reed shut down all street vending. In October,
the judge ruled yet again that Reed must allow the street vendors
back their permits.

But the city and the mayor still hadn’t complied and are now
facing a potential contempt ruling for defying the judge’s

In order to get the judge off the city’s backs, Atlanta’s City
Council passed an ordinance Monday creating more regulations and
conditions for vendors to operate. The Institute for Justice is not

“The ordinance is a step back for Atlanta vendors,” Institute
for Justice Attorney Rob Frommer told Reason. Among the problems
with the new rules, Frommer explained, is that it replaces the
proposed private monopoly with the government instead. The
government will still control where vendors can sell goods, mandate
how they sell things, and even control exactly what goods they may
sell. A street vendor may not sell items that are the same as
what’s being sold in nearby brick-and-mortar shops.

“The end result is the same,” Frommer said. “There’s less
opportunities, less choice, and less benefits for consumers.” He
described the anticompetitive product restrictions as “patently

Frommer said the Institute for Justice will have to assess the
ordinance more thoroughly before deciding their next steps, as it
was rammed through in just two weeks, and there’s been little
analysis. In the meantime, they’re still pushing forward to try to
have the judge rule Mayor Reed in contempt.

“For 11 months, Mayor Reed violated the law by preventing honest
entrepreneurs from working,” Frommer said. “We expect the court to
call him to account for his lawless actions.”

Below, the Institute for Justice’s video explainer about the
ongoing fight. According to the
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
, the city is not
providing in these new rules an option for street vendors around
Turner Field, where the Braves play:

from Hit & Run

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