Select Page

Illinois’ Top Court Blesses Chicago’s Cronyist Anti-Food-Truck Regulations

Don’t go to Chicago with your fancy food trucks. That was the message from the Illinois Supreme Court today as it upheld oppressive, protectionist regulations designed to protect brick-and-mortar restaurants from mobile competitors.

Chicago forbids food trucks from parking within 200 feet of any establishment that serves food—including convenience stores. The city also requires food trucks to carry GPS devices so they can be tracked. Illinois’ top court ruled today that these restrictions pass constitutional muster.

Such regulations have essentially made it impossible to operate food trucks profitably in much of the Windy City. Indeed, they’ve made it basically impossible to park a truck and serve customers in 97 percent of the city’s major business district. Lawbreakers face fines of $1,000 to $2,000 for each violation.

The food-truck-appreciating and property-rights-loving attorneys of the Institute for Justice took on the city on behalf of Laura Pekarik, who attempted to start a cupcake-serving truck to raise money for cancer research. The Institute for Justice filed its suit in November 2012, arguing that the regulations violate the state constitution’s due process protections.

The regulations were clearly designed to protect restaurants from competition, though city representatives insisted that they merely wanted to protect the stability and economic growth of Chicago properties and the tax revenue they represent. Even if that is their motive, it’s a bad one: It suggests that a government’s recognition of our individual liberties is contingent on whether it correlates with city officials’ goals. Nevertheless, the top court bought the argument:

The City has a legitimate governmental interest in encouraging the long-term stability and economic growth of its neighborhoods. The 200-foot rule, which helps promote brick-and-mortar restaurants and, thus, neighborhood stability, is rationally related to this legitimate interest. Importantly, too,…[t]his section created a number of food truck stands, i.e., designated areas along the public way where food trucks are permitted to park without being subject to the 200-foot rule. Thus, the City has not entirely banned food trucks. Rather, it has created a regulatory scheme that attempts to balance the interests of food trucks with the need to promote neighborhood stability that is furthered by brick-and-mortar restaurants.

No, the city has not “entirely banned food trucks.” But Chicago’s food-truck industry has shrunk by 40 percent over the past six years, thanks to the city’s oppressive rules.

Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Robert Frommer expresses his disappointment with the court’s ruling:

Today’s ruling doesn’t protect public safety; instead, it protects brick-and-mortar restaurants from honest competition. A hallmark of America is robust competition, not hardball politics and backroom deals. Holding that Chicago may use public power for private gain breaks with over a century of precedent and weakens the constitutional rights of not just food truckers, but all Illinoisans.

Read the court’s ruling here, and then read more here from Baylen Linnekin about the trials and tribulations in other communities from people just trying to earn a living selling you delicious food from a truck.


This post has been republished with permission from a publicly-available RSS feed found on Reason. The views expressed by the original author(s) do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of The Libertarian Hub, its owners or administrators. Any images included in the original article belong to and are the sole responsibility of the original author/website. The Libertarian Hub makes no claims of ownership of any imported photos/images and shall not be held liable for any unintended copyright infringement. Submit a DCMA takedown request.

Read the original article.

About The Author

Scott Shackford

Founded in 1968, Reason is the magazine of free minds and free markets. We produce hard-hitting independent journalism on civil liberties, politics, technology, culture, policy, and commerce. Reason exists outside of the left/right echo chamber. Our goal is to deliver fresh, unbiased information and insights to our readers, viewers, and listeners every day. Visit https://reason.com

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Welcome

Bringing together a variety of news and information from some of today’s most important libertarian thought leaders. All feeds are checked and refreshed every hour and pages auto-refresh every 15 minutes. External images are deleted after 30 days.

Time since last refresh: 0 second

Publish Your Own Article

Follow The Libertarian Hub

 

Support Our Work

Support the Libertarian Hub by tipping with Bitcoin!

Send BTC:
19PU2K7448gKxAvisR5cF6X5RquYfWu5vZ

Weekly Newsletter

Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a weekly email report of the top five most popular articles on the Libertarian Hub!

Weekly Newsletter SignupTop 5 Stories of the Week

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a weekly email report of the top five most popular articles on the Libertarian Hub!