The Legal Department requests that City Council approve changes to Chapters 28 and 40 of the City of Houston’s Code of Ordinances related to the regulation of sidewalk performances and the playing of bands in public places in order to take up a collection.
The Legal Department requests that City Council approve these changes to comply with the order issued by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas in the case styled Barilla v. City of Houston. Civil Action No. 4:20-CV-00145 (S.D. Tex. 2022). The Court’s order in Barilla v. City of Houston found two city ordinances unconstitutional in violation of the First Amendment: (1) the City’s busking ordinance; and (2) portions of the City’s permitting ordinances that apply to sidewalk performances in the theater district.
Houston Public Works advises that, at most, they receive one application per year for a permit to perform on a sidewalk in the theater district.
The Legal Department recommends the following revisions to Chapters 28 and 40:
- Repeal of Section 28-6 of the City Code of Ordinances which prohibits the playing of bands upon the streets or in other public places in the City for a contribution.
- Repeal provisions of Chapter 40 regarding the issuance of permits to conduct sidewalk performances in the theater/entertainment district.
Arturo G. Michel, City Attorney