Judge declares parts of South Padre Island's food truck ordinance unconstitutional
After a nearly two-year legal battle, a judge struck down parts of South Padre Island's food truck regulations last month.
State District Judge Arturo Cisneros Nelson determined that parts of the city of South Padre Island Code that regulated food trucks violated the Texas Constitution.
Both the city's limit on food truck permits and the city's permit process are unconstitutional, Nelson ruled on Nov. 30.
"We had no ability to compete and have a business like anyone else out here, just because of this crazy food truck — or 'mobile food unit' — ordinance," said Scott Bovee, who owns Porky's Pit BBQ & Catering.
The Institute for Justice, a libertarian organization that works to limit government power and bolster individual rights, represented food truck owners in the lawsuit.
"The government doesn't get to pass laws to pick winners and losers in the marketplace," said Arif Panju, the managing attorney of the institute's Texas office.
Panju said the city attempted to cap the number of food truck permits at 12. The city also required food trucks to receive support from a local restaurant owner as part of the permit process.
Both the cap and the requirement were struck down by the court.
The city didn't respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
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