After the Mississippi Justice Institute, the legal arm of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, warned the city of Tupelo, Mississippi about the Constitutionality of passing regulations that would limit where food trucks could be located, the city adopted a new ordinance without those restrictions in place.
During the process, some city leaders had openly said their goal was to protect existing brick-and-mortar restaurants, at the expense of food truck operators.
One councilman said, “I just want to make sure our established businesses are protected.” Another added, “I feel like it’s not fair to brick-and-mortar businesses to allow food trucks to park in front of their business.”
One proposal that was floated would have prohibited food trucks from being within a certain distance of restaurants. Another would have prohibited food trucks from being on the two main retail streets in the city — which also happen to be the two streets where all restaurants in the city are located.
“Regulations about how far a food truck can be from a restaurant have nothing to do with consumer safety. Regulating that distance does nothing to protect the public. It’s simply an attempt to protect existing businesses from newer businesses. It’s not the government’s job to protect a business from competition,” the MJI letter said.
Throughout the process, MCPP and MJI provided thought leadership not just from a legal perspective, but on why these potential regulations are bad policy for consumers and the economy, and the city relented.