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Illinois Senate Kills Cupcake Bill

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Proposal would have required more than $200 in license and fees before selling homemade goods. Illinois kids can open up their lemonade stands and cupcake shops without worry that the government will come after them this summer.

Cupcake Bill would have required more than $200 in license and fees before selling homemade goods.

Illinois kids can open up their lemonade stands and cupcake shops without worry that the government will come after them this summer.

After a series of public complaints against the bill, the Illinois Senate voted down the so-called Cupcake Bill, which would’ve required at-home bakeries to take a series of classes and pay more than $200 in fees and licenses, by a vote of 17-32. The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago), would have made it mandatory for anyone selling made-at-home food products to take an eight-hour sanitation course billed at $145, obtain a county health permit at $25, put the ingredients on labels attached to the goods and ensure that the label states it is homemade, as well as another $35 fee. This came after 11-year-old Chloe Stirling of Troy had to shutter her at-home cupcake business by order of the Madison Health Department. The sixth-grader had been selling her cupcakes under the name “Hey Cupcake.”

State Rep. Charlie Meier (R-Washington County) took action in defense of Stirling, exempting those who make less than $1,000 from obtaining the necessary permits required of a bakery or grocery store. The Cupcake Bill, HB5354, passed unanimously out of committee and later passed the House before being amended in the Senate removing the exemption. State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) then tried to amend the bill to reinsert the exemption, but at those making less than $250 a month, which failed in the Public Health Committee.

During the debate, state Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) blasted the Senate for trying to ruin the intent of the Cupcake Bill, saying that requiring kids to pay $200 to set up a lemonade stand shows just why people are fleeing the state.

“This may sound like a silly thing known as the ‘cupcake girl’ bill, but this goes to the heart of what goes on in Springfield,” Oberweis said. “It’s an example of how we are Illinoizing — killing — entrepreneurship among kids.”

Trotter defended his position in sponsoring the Cupcake Bill, saying the action wasn’t about discouraging entrepreneurship but ensuring public health standards are met.

“There are laws that have to be adhered to when you sell to the public,” Trotter said. “There are things we must be cognizant of, and that is the allergies or the other things that will impact other individuals’ health. That’s the job of public health.”

State Rep. Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago) disagreed with the Cupcake Bill, saying common sense would dictate that when you buy a product at a bake sale instead of a bakery, there will be minor risks.

 

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Justin Shimko

Justin Shimko is an award-winning writer and political analyst. He began as a reporter in his college days at the University of Oklahoma, writing for The Oklahoma Daily (rated as one of the best collegiate newspapers in the nation) and The Oklahoman, the statewide newspaper, winning awards from the CSPA and the Society of Professional Journalists. He later moved on to research and writing work for a number of political campaigns. His email is [email protected]