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Food Truck Owner Takes City's Regulations To Appeals Court

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A food truck owner and her attorney are hoping a state appeals court will give them better luck at overturning Chicago's regulations on food trucks in the city.

A lower court ruled that the Emanuel Administration's laws should stand. But Robert Frommer, senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, argued before the First District Appellate Court that the rule banning food trucks within 200-feet of a brick and mortar restaurant is unconstitutional.

"As the mayor said, this rule exists to protect traditional restaurants from competition, but decades of Illinois law makes it clear that you can't do that -- competition is the American way. It's what makes us better. It should be consumers who decide where to get their lunch -- not the government."

He says there should be no law telling one business that is cannot compete against another business. He also rails against a rule requiring the trucks to have GPS tracking. He says that constitutes an unreasonable "search."

City attorneys argue that established restaurants have many more costs and requirements, and the law helps balance things out. Laura Pekarik, however, owner of Cupcakes for Courage, says things are so unbalanced she can hardly operate her food trucks in Chicago anymore.

"I don't operate it day-to-day in the City of Chicago any longer, mostly for just private events and festivals because it was incredibly increasingly difficult to park and find a place for my drivers to go to," Pekarik said.

A spokesman for Chicago's law Department wouldn't comment on a pending case, but said the City "believes its food truck ordinance and regulations strike the right balance between the interests of food trucks and those of restaurants."

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