Jim Oberweis

Illinois State Senator | 25th District


Stop government overregulation of cupcake bakers and lemonade stands

Friday, May 23, 2014

Government regulation and nanny-state attitudes have created an atmosphere of rules, regulations and rejection for Illinois kids inspired to do the things American children have been doing for decades.


At a State Capitol press conference May 23, Senator Jim Oberweis (pictured at podium), Senator Dave Syverson of Rockford (pictured at left) and Senator Kyle McCarter of Lebanon (not pictured) said it’s time for government to stop throwing up roadblocks to entrepreneurs of all ages.


“If you want to bake cupcakes like 12-year old Chloe Stirling of Troy, or operate a street corner lemonade stand like kids have been doing for years, you can run into an overreaching government agency ready to shut you down,” said Senator McCarter.  “Current law allows local health departments to regulate bake sales and lemonade stands, but it’s not the right thing to do.”


Senator McCarter has filed an amendment to House Bill 5354, known as the Cupcake Law, to keep small bake sales and lemonade stands from the kind of costly rules and regulations meant for restaurants.


“It is frustrating that the state does not have the manpower or resources to meet the core needs of its citizens, yet somehow seem to have enough money to go after the Girl Scouts and grandma for baking a few cupcakes,” said Senator Syverson.  “This is a common-sense solution to stop the government from sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong.”


“Who hasn’t bought a cup of lemonade from a child in the neighborhood or purchased some cookies from a local bake sale?  I understand the desire to inform potential customers that the goods were baked in a private home, and to disclose the ingredients to avoid allergies,” Senator Oberweis said.  “But not surprisingly, this childhood tradition is being ‘Illinoisized’ – loaded down with ‘red tape,’ fees and regulations that undermine any initiative or entrepreneurial spirit.”


“The amendment would exempt the Chloe Stirlings of Illinois from burdensome regulations that would frustrate the young entrepreneurial spirit,” said Senator McCarter.  “It states, if you earn less than $250 per month from your bake sale or lemonade stand, you will not have to obtain a local permit, take eight hours of training on how to handle food and drink and obtain a costly certificate.”


Currently, House Bill 5354 is poised for consideration by the Senate after having already been approved by the House of Representatives.  According to Senator McCarter, when the legislation left the House – sponsored by Representative Charlie Meier of Okawville – it would have allowed smaller bake sales or lemonade stands to operate without the burdensome rules, providing customers were made aware of the home-cooked or homemade nature of the items.  However, as the measure worked its way through the committee hearing process in the Senate, it was loaded down with additional rules and regulations.


“This is just a prime example of government overreach; seeking problems where none exist,” said Senator McCarter.  “It would be a travesty if this legislation is allowed to pass without some common-sense changes.  How reasonable is it to insist that you be forced, by law, to obtain a local health department permit for $25 and a Food Service Sanitation Management training that comes with a required eight-hour course costing $145 and the certificate which is another $35, just to sell a few cupcakes or cups of lemonade?”


“Red tape, fees and regulations – this is typical of the way the Illinois political class tends to discourage entrepreneurs, young and old alike,” Senator Oberweis said.  “What kind of message are we sending about Illinois as a place to live and do business?”

back to current news