Mayor, Critics Weigh In on Proposed Downtown Curfew - 8 News NOW

Mayor, Critics Weigh In on Proposed Downtown Curfew

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LAS VEGAS - Dozens of people are expected to pack Las Vegas City Hall Wednesday as the Las Vegas City Council considers a curfew for downtown Las Vegas.

The 9 p.m. curfew would apply to teens under the age of 18. If passed, the curfew would ban teens from areas around the Arts District and Fremont Street Experience on weekends and holidays. Several bars and clubs dot the area.

For more than a month, city officials have been working to define the boundaries of the area where the curfew would be applied. They reduced the proposed restricted area to only include the Fremont Street Experience and Arts District.

If the curfew is approved, any unsupervised juveniles under the age of 18 out after 9 p.m. in these areas might have to pay a $300 fine.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman says the curfew is designed to protect teens who, she says, don't need to be congregating downtown past 9 p.m.

"All of this started, because there was a request from Metro once they had gone ahead and changed curfew for minors out on the Strip to a nine o' clock curfew on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays," she said. "That's had a huge impact on problems they had been seeing. So, the request came into the Mayor's Office to go ahead and could we, in fact, do this in an area they felt was seeing actual pushback of people taking advantage of young people, minors downtown on the Fremont Street Experience and the Fremont Street Entertainment District?"

Not everyone favors the proposed downtown curfew. Representatives from the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada say they wonder if city leaders want to push kids away and turn downtown into an adult playground.

Additionally, PLAN runs an office in the downtown area, where the group operates an immigration reform campaign. Some undocumented kids volunteer for that campaign, and PLAN officials worry the curfew would affect them.

"A lot of the kids that volunteer for us, especially during the summer or they come after schools, they're undocumented. Some of them don't have the proper documentation to prove their age," said PLAN Communications Director Laura Martin. "They would have to walk through the curfew zone to take the bus or they take the bus here, because they can't drive or if maybe they're hanging outside taking a break."

Martin says under the original curfew proposal, those volunteers could be stopped by police and could face deportation. PLAN says it also hopes the council rethinks the $300 fine, which would be a huge burden to a struggling teen.

The Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts, Las Vegas Gay and Lesbian Community Center and East Las Vegas Community Center also sit nearby the proposed curfew area.

The proposed curfew is scheduled to be discussed at Wednesday's Las Vegas City Council Meeting. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at Las Vegas City Hall. If approved, it could take effect as early as Friday.

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