Street vendors sue city of Hialeah over ordinance

Vendors claim 2 laws are unconstitutional

HIALEAH, Fla. - Street vendors selling everything from fruit to flowers have filed a lawsuit against the city of Hialeah claiming the city has laws that are unconstitutional.

The ordinance states "vendors cannot stay in one location and are prohibited from displaying their merchandise."

This means that Norma Sequeira, who has been selling flowers from the corner of a privately owned gas station for 12 years, now has to keep her flowers out of sight and in her car.

The ordinance says these restrictions are in place for safety reasons, but it certainly makes street vending very difficult, something that is legal.

According to city policy, standing in the street during a red light is perfectly safe.

"The law that the city has enacted goes far beyond regulating the rights of way," says Claudia Edenfield of the Institute of Justice. "Instead the law regulates private property where vendors just want to display their merchandise, and the city of Hialeah is saying they can't do that on private property anywhere in the city."

Legally, the vendors must have city-issued identification cards and follow certain codes, but they say the new law changes make their job impossible.

"That is simply what the vendors are asking for, for these two laws to be struck down," says Edenfield. "They are not asking for one cent from the city."

Click here to read the ordinance issued by the city of Hialeah.

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