An ordinance to ban news racks on the Strip will be drafted for consideration by Clark County commissioners.
Commissioners on Tuesday scrapped a proposed uniform design for news racks on the Strip but told County Manager Don Burnette to return with an ordinance that would ban news racks entirely from the segment of Las Vegas Boulevard South that features Nevada’s largest hotel-casinos.
The regulation would apply to all those news racks, regardless of their content. Many of the Strip news racks contain publications with X-rated ads for escort services and strip clubs.
The abandoned idea of a uniform news rack design came from the Resort Corridor Workgroup with the goal of putting a county-owned and maintained newsrack system. But county administrators changed course after completing the pedestrian study, which examined how news racks and other obstacles impact pedestrian traffic.
County officials said eliminating news racks could be part of a wider plan to address obstacles that disrupt pedestrian flow such as fire hydrants and trash cans.
However, Allen Lichtenstein, the general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, warned commissioners that eliminating news racks conflicts with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and would lead to an increase in the number of handbillers on the Strip.
After the meeting, Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said the county’s interest is strictly about the free flow of pedestrian traffic safely along the Strip.
As for the concern about handbillers growing in numbers, he noted that handbillers can move out of the way when asked to, but news racks cannot.
“You can’t ask a new srack,” he said. “They’re not going to answer you. That’s the difference.”
Eddie Munoz, owner of Strip Advertising, has 450 news racks along the Strip. He didn’t speak to commissioners but talked to reporters after the meeting.
He said his publications aren’t forced on passers-by like handbillers do.
“It’s not shoved in their face,” he said. “It’s their choice.”
Contact reporter Ben Botkin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-455-4519.