PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Outdoor restaurants in Philadelphia can offer entertainment under a bill passed by City Council on Thursday. Council also passed a bill putting stricter limits on stores that sell drug paraphernalia.
Councilmember Katherine Gilmore-Richardson says her bill is designed to help the restaurants that have worked mightily to stay afloat through the pandemic with outdoor dining in "streeteries," parklets, cabanas and other enclosures. It will allow them to also offer music to entice more patrons.
Richardson also sponsored the bill that will require all stores that primarily sell items used to consume drugs to have special zoning and permits. The bill closes a loophole that some shops used by describing themselves as convenience stores.
Council also passed a bill to give housing and employment protection to victims of “coercive control,” a form of abuse in which victims lose their independence through threats, isolation, economic control or other sorts of manipulation.
Sponsor Kendra Brooks introduced the bill in honor of her cousin, who was murdered by a man that exerted such control.
"These non-physical forms of abuse often lead to more deadly forms of violence," Brooks said.
But Councilman David Oh said he feared parents could be accused under the bill. Oh has made a cause of protecting parents from abuse allegations ever since he accidentally broke his son’s collar bone, and child welfare officials were called.
"I don’t trust government. I don’t believe government has common sense," said Oh, who offered the only "no" vote.
Council also approved creation of the Philly Youth Act. Sponsor Curtis Jones says it would create regional negotiating teams to broker agreements between rival youth group.
"We could get stakeholders in their neighborhood to sit them down and negotiate peace treaties for a summer or a year," said Jones. He believes the act could greatly reduce violent crime.