New Hampshire

New Hampshire and Illinois Are Legalizing Unlicensed Lemonade Stands

A bill signed into law this month in Illinois and one awaiting governor approval in New Hampshire would let kids sell non-alcoholic beverages outside their homes.

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Illinois and New Hampshire both recently passed bills to legalize a favorite American summer tradition: lemonade stands operated by kids. 

New Hampshire's bill passed the legislature last week and is awaiting a signature from Republican Gov. Chris Sununu. It allows kids under the age of 14 to sell soft drinks on their private property without getting licenses or permits from cities and towns that otherwise require them. The term "soft drink" includes not only lemonade but also other mixed, non-alcoholic beverages. 

The bill received a surprising amount of pushback in the state legislature. The applicable age was 18 when the bill was introduced but was later amended to 14. Some state legislators also thought that the bill was unnecessary, as there has never been a publicized incident of an authority shuttering an unlicensed lemonade stand in the past. 

"This seems to me like one of those solutions in search of a problem," Senate Minority Leader Donna Soucy (D) told WMUR

But just because this tolerated illegality hasn't caused a problem yet, doesn't mean that it won't cause a problem in the future if the bill doesn't become law. Consider the incident in Illinois that spurred Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker to sign a similar bill two weeks ago. 

In 2017, then 9-year-old Hayli Martenez opened a lemonade stand in her front yard in a low-income neighborhood of Kankakee, Illinois. She charged 50 cents per cup. All of the profit went to her college fund. 

"As we kept doing it, I got to see everybody smile when they tasted my lemonade," Hayli told Illinois Policy. "It was just … wow. They were lining up to get my lemonade."

But in July of 2019, Hayli received notice from state and city health officials that she would have to shut down the stand or be fined. She ended up switching the stand to donation-only, but the incident received state-wide attention. 

Now, roughly two years later, the state has passed "Hayli's Law" to protect her business and those of other entrepreneurial kids around the state. 

"Who would have thought you would need a lemonade law?" said Hayli's mom Iva. "But it wasn't about the lemonade. It was about being able to take what you have and make it work for you. We turned lemons into lemonade."

"Notwithstanding any other provision of law," the Illinois law reads, "the Department of Public Health, the health department of a unit of local government, or a public health district may not regulate the sale of lemonade or nonalcoholic drinks or mixed beverages by a person under the age of 16."

This is not an isolated incident. Reason has reported on similar cases across the country for years. 

The necessity of these "Lemonade Laws" is a byproduct of hastily passed licensure requirements and regulations that don't take into account the full consequences of their enforcement. Oftentimes, irregular enforcement of these requirements can be used to shut down businesses arbitrarily deemed to be "undesirable."

Hopefully, these small steps for lemonade stands will draw attention to the overly broad licensing requirements that defy both common sense and the entrepreneurial spirit of America.

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  1. The irony of a Senator calling something a solution in search of a problem.

    1. A Democrat Senator at that.

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    2. This only so she can later claim cleverness and libertarian leanings.

      1. Apparently nobody has ever thought about just firing the petty bastard who threatened to fine a child and sending a fine to the neighbor who tattled. Applying pain as the natural consequence of stupid behavior is far more powerful than any law they can pass, and the lesson isn’t lost on the next petty bastard who narcs on the next one also selling cookies.

        1. Illinois Lemonade Nazis!…I hate Illinois Lemonade Nazis!

        2. The same people who jailed folks because they had marijuana residue on their walls, and the government claimed not that it was evidence of past use, but was possession in and of itself?

          Those guys be trusted?

    3. MAke Lemonade Great Again (MALGA)
      Make Entrepreneurship Great Again (MEGA)

  2. The bill received a surprising amount of pushback in the state legislature. The applicable age was 18 when the bill was introduced but was later amended to 14. Some state legislators also thought that the bill was unnecessary, as there has never been a publicized incident of an authority shuttering an unlicensed lemonade stand in the past.

    “This seems to me like one of those solutions in search of a problem,” Senate Minority Leader Donna Soucy (D) told WMUR.

    So the consensus is this is a bit like the Transgender sports bans?

    1. No, men displacing women in women’s sports is an actual problem.

  3. Thankfully this important legislation is all we need to talk about, there is literally nothing else more important.

    1. In defense of the article, we haven’t yet had the conversation of which is the single most important topic to talk about so that you don’t have to waste limited faculties on lesser topics. Perhaps you could get that discussion going.

  4. In other news, how ’bout that Arizona audit… amirite fellas?

    1. It turned into a freak show like all Trump-related initiatives.

      1. turd lies. It’s what he does. If turd posts numbers, they are outright lies or cherry-picked such as to be worthless.
        turd lies or is otherwise dishonest in every post like this one
        turd lies; it’s what he does.

  5. Non-alcoholic only? Damn authoritarians.

  6. “Who would have thought you would need a lemonade law?” said Hayli’s mom Iva.

    In IL? AYFKM?

  7. O/T – Michigan Legislature Yanks Emergency Powers That Enabled Whitmer’s COVID Tyranny

    Interesting – it was a citizen led petition forwarded/approved by the state legislature. Because of this, Whitmer has no veto power.

    Libertarianism at work?

    1. note they waited until after the kidnapping snafu’d

  8. I blame Big Lemon.

    1. Don Lemon was an influential spokesman for the cause.

    2. Liz Lemon has a spin off from 30 Rock with Tracy Gordon as Don Lemon in Lemon’s lemons.

    3. Bob Lemon. Cleveland Guardians Hall of Famer.

    4. Let’s not forget Meadowlark Lemon.

    5. Will Greg Lemond aid this movement in cyclist-friendly states?

  9. Of course in Illinois those kids are still required to send in campaign contributions.

  10. how did this get past the Chicago unions?

    1. They’re already ordering more giant inflatable rats for their protests.

    2. Don’t worry, I’m sure there’s a provision requiring the lemons to be purchased from unionized fruit providers. And the stands will have to be built by union labor.

      1. You forgot about the trans bathrooms that will be required by law.

  11. The stand are legal now, but will still be shut down by the local boards of health. Kidd-es didn’t have stainless steel kitchens, temperatures are not kept consistent, the kids failed to wear hair nets and gloves while preparing the lemonade and the nutrition information is not conspicuously posted. Multiple violations, shut-em down! (sarc)

  12. I can understand the need to have a law permitting sales without a permit in a nation where everything is forbidden (unlawful) until it is allowed by law. That is the only way to explain it. However, the use of logic is so rare, so inconvenient for those living in a fantasy world where cowardice is bravery, e.g., subservience is freedom from the tyranny of thinking, that I doubt many will stop to question. Only those of us old enough to remember when children roamed freely, and offensive speech was a common right will understand.

  13. Can you believe we need a law for this? What an embarrassment.

  14. Just more evidence that those attracted to politics and government are those least suited to the responsibility.

  15. If the “government” requires lemonade stands to be licensed, but then legalizes them to operate “unlicensed,” help me out here, but isn’t that “de facto” licensing?

    1. Yes. Except it leaves plenty of room for ‘authorities’ to harass people at their pleasure.

  16. You mean ‘no longer making them illegal’.

    The government doesn’t make things legal – everything is, by default, legal. Government makes things illegal.

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  18. So how many forms do the kids and parents have to fill out for the license?

    1. Forms will be available in 47 languages.

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