INDIANAPOLIS — The House unanimously passed a bill to stop health departments and home associations from souring children’s lemonade stand goals.
Rep. Jim Pressel, R-LaPorte, authored the “lemonade stand bill,” HB 1077, after a parent, concerned about the hoops people have to jump through for a lemonade stand to be legal, reached out to him.
“I think [the opportunity is] important for our youth, and we really shouldn’t stand in the way of that lemonade stand,” Pressel said.
The family from LaPorte reached out to Pressel after hearing how lemonade stands were being shut down and fined in other states across the country.
One of the earliest reports of a lemonade stand being shut down occurred in Overton, Texas, in summer 2015, when two young girls were cited by the city after trying to sell lemonade and kettle corn as a fundraiser for their Father’s Day present to their dad.
Later in the summer, Jerry Seinfeld’s kids’ lemonade stand was shut down in East Hampton, New York, after a neighbor called to complain. The Seinfelds were raising money for Jessica Seinfeld’s charity, Good+Foundation, or Baby Buggy, which provides families in need with essentials.
In 2018, a mother from Denver, Colorado, was shocked to learn her children would need not one but three permits to legally sell lemonade from their sidewalk. The mother, Jennifer Knowles, is an author, speaker, consultant and professor at Colorado State University. She used the opportunity to teach her boys about hard work and entrepreneurship while lobbying for the change with a blog and petition before writing a children’s book about their fight for lemonade stands.
The Indiana bill says local health departments, health and hospital corporations, counties, municipalities, and townships cannot “require a license, permit or fee for the sale of lemonade or other nonalcoholic beverages from a stand on private property or in a public park by an individual who is less than 18 years of age.”
A provision in the bill allows kids to sell lemonade in public parks if the manager of the park approves the location of the stand. This provision was added with rural communities in mind.
The bill also prevents homeowners’ associations from requiring a permit or fee for a stand on property located in the subdivision. However, any stand set up in a neighborhood can only operate for two consecutive days and no more than eight days within a 30-day period.
Additionally, the bill states the lemonade stands cannot be considered food establishments and do not require a certified food protection manager.
The bill was amended twice in the House Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee to clarify a technicality and add adult supervision for stands in the park.
Rep. Robert Morris, R-Fort Wayne, chairman of the committee, shared his appreciation for the bill during a Feb. 2 meeting.
“It’s definitely a great bill for the entrepreneurs, and they can continue to flourish,” Morris said. “I had a lemonade stand and sold candy as well as a kid, actually on the street corner, so I applaud you for this bill.”
Representatives Shane Lindauer, R-Jasper, and Martin Carbaugh, R-Fort Wayne, joined as co-authors on the bill.
Lindauer said he liked the idea of encouraging entrepreneurship and says the bill is a way to make sure there is a pathway for children to do so with the least restrictions possible.
“We’re always trying to balance local control with property rights of individuals. This just seemed to me to make sense as kind of a good balance between those two issues and again, just encouraging entrepreneurship,” Lindauer said. “So hopefully, in doing so, we head off any possible discouragement or anything like that for kids exploring their entrepreneurial interests.”
The bill passed unanimously in the House Commerce, Small Business, and Economic Development Committee before the House unanimously passed the bill on Feb. 9. Sen. Mike Bohacek, R-LaPorte, sponsored the bill. The next step is referral from the Senate.
Some might say passing legislation on the topic should not be lawmakers’ focus during the pandemic, but Lindauer suggested encouraging entrepreneurial attitudes and raising spirits is a good use of time.
“I think our economy, ultimately, has been built off of entrepreneurial spirit, so any way that we can encourage that is a good use of time long term,” Lindauer said. “There’s a lot of issues we are tackling this session, but I would not say it’s an unimportant issue.”
Only 14 states allow unpermitted lemonade stands, according to Country Time. The beverage company says it believed the stories of lemonade stands being shut down for legal reasons to be an urban myth until it was proven true.
The brand is looking to change that with a program called Legal-Ade to help children across the country pay for permit fees and fines on their lemonade stands.
“Life doesn’t always give you lemons, but when it does, you should be able to make and share lemonade with the neighborhood without legal implications,” Legal-Ade says on its website. “That’s why we’re here to take a stand for lemonade stands across the nation.”
In an interview with Forbes in October 2018, Kraft-Heinz CEO Adam Butler said the promotion was a success and he planned to carry on with the program.
“We had over 450 registrations, over 80,000 unique visits to the site, and were able to cover the fines/permits for everyone who submitted their paperwork,” Butler said.
Country Time Legal-Ade is also providing online resources and tools to parents and their kids to have the laws changed in their states. The website launched in 2018 and has been renewed each year with the goal to legalize lemonade in all 50 states.
Texas began allowing them in 2019, after Republican Gov. Greg Abbot referred to the legalization as “a common-sense law” in a tweet.
In New York, a Republican senator proposed a similar bill in 2019, allowing children 16 and younger to legally sell the beverage sans a permit. The bill was approved by New York Senate Health committee before being passed to the Finance Committee during the 2019-2020 legislative session.
Colorado also had a change of heart, now allowing children to run lemonade stands and other small businesses so long as they operate less than 84 days a year.
As the bill makes its way through the Indiana General Assembly, young entrepreneurs get closer to their first sweet taste of business.