Published Date: January 2, 2024, 05:27h.
Updated On: January 2, 2024, 05:27h.
No, you didn’t click on The Onion by mistake. When the governing body overseeing the Las Vegas Strip introduced this bill on Nov. 22, few believed it would pass. Who in their right mind would declare standing still on a pedestrian bridge a crime?
Not only did the Clark County Commission do exactly that on Tuesday, their vote was unanimous.
Stopping to tie your shoelaces, or to ask someone directions, could result in a misdemeanor summons if you do it on a pedestrian bridge crossing the Strip — or near the escalators, elevators or stairways connected to those bridges.
If you’re found guilty, you could face up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine.
A last-minute amendment to the ordinance had to be provided just to exempt anyone who is waiting to use an elevator, stairway, or escalator!
A Permanent Law for Temporary Events
The stated justification makes sense for special events. Allowing police and emergency personnel to cross the bridges easily is crucial during congested events such as the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix and New Year’s Eve, which are more vulnerable to acts of terrorism that would would emergency assistance to begin with.
“We’ve seen large crowds on bridges during major events,” Undersheriff Andrew Walsh said during Tuesday’s meeting. “It’s very difficult for officers to get onto those bridges and to maintain order.”
However, for more than 300 days a year, this measure is most likely to target the illegal water vendors and performance artists who set up on the bridges.
In fact, a Commission staffer said at the meeting that performers would only be able to perform on bridges if “they continue walking.”
People who stop on bridges to photograph the Sphere are another annoyance to Clark County officials, though they were not mentioned in any of the arguments in favor of the ordinance.
As you read this, the ACLU of Nevada is almost certainly readying its first lawsuit.
“I can assure you if this passes, this will result in litigation because despite buzzwords being used about this being narrowly tailored to the least restrictive alternative, it’s not,” the organization’s executive director, Athar Haseebullah, said before the vote. “I encourage you if you’re in support of the First Amendment to not move forward with this proposal.”
The commission was more swayed by Commissioner Jim Gibson’s argument that the measure would “keep every pedestrian that would move along those bridges and down the elevators safe.”
The county will places signs alerting the public of the restrictions whenever the ordinance goes into effect. No start date was given at the meeting.