If kids want to legally operate a lemonade stand in Indiana, they and their parents sometimes need to jump through a lot of local hoops and secure permits.
Some state lawmakers want to change that and make it easier for children to operate beverage stands to learn useful lessons in entrepreneurship without fear of running afoul of the law.
Rep. Blake Johnson, D-Indianapolis, is taking up the charge started two years ago by Republican Rep. Jim Pressel of Rolling Prairie, who first attempted to deregulate child-run lemonade stands after being contacted by a LaPorte father who wanted to clear the way for his young sons to legally start such an enterprise.
Pressel’s bill cleared the Indiana House but stalled in the Senate. Johnson’s House Bill 1019 unanimously cleared the House Commerce Committee this week and is awaiting action by the full House. Pressel is a co-author on the proposal.
The measure would prohibit a local health department, county, municipality, township or homeowner association from regulating the sale of lemonade or other nonalcoholic beverages being sold by a minor on private property.
“There is absolutely a place for food service regulation and the way we think about regulating the delivery of food to customers, but I don’t think a secondary effect of our laws should be prohibiting kids from doing something like a lemonade stand,” Johnson told IBJ.
Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne, praised Johnson for pushing the legislation and said children in his neighborhood “come up with some of the most creative advertising in business” for their lemonade stands.
While the House Commerce Committee voted to advance the proposal, a lawyer spoke on behalf of the Marion County Public Health Department to express concerns about food safety.
She asked legislators to consider adding a technical amendment to the bill that would restrict children from selling “time-temperature controlled products,” such as those that contain dairy or other milk products that could lead to food borne illness.
“Often sometimes, you may have a smoothie or milkshake or something that’s pre-packaged,” said Heather Harris, an attorney from Barnes & Thornburg. “You have to ensure those products are cared for in a proper setting and that you aren’t leaving them out in the sun or have them on ice.”
While no advocates cited any instances of lemonade stands being shuttered for lack of permits in Indiana, it has happened in recent years in Colorado, Illinois, New York, Texas and elsewhere.
In Texas, two sisters who had set up shop to raise money for their dad’s Father’s Day present were shut down for not having approval from the local health department.