LAS VEGAS — The Las Vegas City Council is considering a curfew prohibiting adults between 18 and 21 years old from being on or around Fremont Street, a public street, between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. daily. This is the city’s most recent attempt to try to privatize a public street.
The proposal would allow only those who are able to spend money on gaming and alcohol to be present on Fremont Street between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. While presented under the guise of public safety, neither the city of Las Vegas nor Fremont Street have provided any data to date to demonstrate an enhanced public safety threat from those between the ages of 18 and 21. This radical proposal, which veers from existing curfew laws for those under 18, would be the first of its kind in Nevada as it will apply a curfew to adults.
ACLU of Nevada is opposed to this proposal as it specified during the city’s most recent Recommending Committee meeting. The proposed curfew violates the First Amendment and raises additional considerations beyond the matter at hand with respect to the privatization of a public street. If passed, the ACLU of Nevada will seek legal recourse in the months ahead. The ACLU of Nevada released the following statements in advance of Wednesday's meeting:
ACLU of Nevada Executive Director Athar Haseebullah said:
“Those who are between the ages of 18 and 21 are legal adults who have the same First Amendment right to access public spaces as those who are over the legal drinking and gambling age. Is the city really under the belief that a sober 20-year-old walking on Fremont Street is inherently more dangerous than a drunk 21-year-old? This proposal is yet another absurd attempt by the city to pretend it is solving for public safety issues when in reality, this is just another attempt to turn a public forum into a private casino courtyard.”
ACLU of Nevada Legal Director Christopher Peterson said:
“This proposal violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. The government has a high burden to justify barring people from accessing a public street, but the City has failed to offer any substantive evidence to support keeping adults from Fremont Street, which has long been recognized by our courts as a public forum."
ACLU of Nevada Executive Director Athar Haseebullah will testify at tomorrow’s Las Vegas City Council meeting in opposition to the proposed Fremont Street curfew, Agenda Item 4.
The meeting is set to take place at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Las Vegas City Hall, 495 S. Main St.