Mayor Parker signs bills targeting quality of life in Kensington

The actions ban gambling devices in convenience stores, outlaw flipping devices and mandate an 11 p.m. business curfew in Kensington.

Cherelle Parker entering City Council at City Hall

Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker enters Council Chambers to deliver her first budget address on March 14, 2024. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

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Mayor Cherelle Parker signed three bills into law Wednesday designed to improve the quality of life in Philadelphia.

The actions ban gambling devices in convenience stores and gas stations, criminalize the installation of a license plate flipping device and mandate an 11 p.m. curfew for most businesses in the city’s Kensington section.

It was Parker’s first public bill signing since becoming mayor in January. On her first day in office, she declared a public safety emergency in Philadelphia. Parker said Wednesday it’s time to make the city a better place to live and work.

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“This administration will use every tool in the toolbox to tackle the disorder that we have seen in Kensington,” she said.

Councilmember Curtis Jones said he expects opposition from business owners regarding the gambling device ban, especially since the majority of the testimony during the bill’s public hearing centered around money business owners would lose from the removal of the “games of skill,” as they are called.

Parker said she was behind the bills all the way and would fight any legal challenge.

“We need to stand up for legislation sponsored by our city,” Parker said. “I want you to know you won’t be there alone. Your mayor will be right by your side if we ever need to do that. I want you to know that.”

Parker was more specific about the “skill games,” calling them dangerous.

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“It is not okay to tempt our residents from low- and moderate-income neighborhoods with opportunities to gamble away their hard-earned dollars. It is not okay to give children purchasing candy an opportunity to gamble with their lunch money,” she said.

Parker said her administration is dedicated to improving the lives of everyone in the city.

“We will restore a sense of order in public safety to our city of Philadelphia, and although I’m the mayor of our city, I need you to know, Philadelphia, I can’t do it alone,” she said.

The mayor is approaching her 100-day milestone, when the Kensington Recovery Plan is expected to be unveiled.

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