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Could First Amendment Issues Kill New Fremont Street Law?

street_performer_fremont.jpg

Fremont Street performers
Keoni Cabral/Flickr

New rules are in place for street performers at the Fremont Street Experience

A lot of people were congratulating the Las Vegas City Council for adopting a new ordinance regulating street performers downtown.

Under the rules, 38 circles six-foot in diameter will be available for performers for two hours at a time. 

Not so fast, says attorney Allen Lichtenstein, who has won several First Amendment cases against Las Vegas over the last several years.

"The devils is in the details and we're sort of lacking details," Lichtenstein told KNPR's State of Nevada.

Lichtenstein said the city doesn't have any evidence that this type of plan is going to work. 

"If it restricts too much speech from too many people, then obviously there is going to be a problem," he said.

Lichtenstein said setting out rules for street performers is not the problem.

The issue, according to him, is how the rules were constructed. He said basing the rules on "what can fit after all the Fremont Street Experience stuff, doesn't make any sense."

He thinks the rules need to take into account how many performers want to be there and foot traffic in the pedestrian mall. 

"The buskers have a constitutional right to be out there, the kiosk do not," Lichtenstein said. He said if the issue went to court free speech would win out over commerce.

Support comes from

"This is sort of a jerry-rigged plan that is playing more toward the public than toward the Constitution," he said.

At this point, he is not planning on going to court over what he sees as problems with the ordinance instead he and his clients are going to wait and see. 

 

Guests

Allen Lichtenstein, attorney

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