AUSTIN — Underage lemonade peddlers would be safe from the law under a new bill passed by the Texas House on Wednesday.
House Bill 234, sponsored by Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, would legalize temporary lemonade stands or stands selling other nonalcoholic drinks that are run by minors. The bill will now move to the Senate, where Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, is carrying the measure.
“Today is lemonade freedom day,” Krause said when his bill received initial approval on Tuesday. “It’s a great day for our Texas entrepreneurs.”
“Yesterday was one small step for lemonade, today is one giant leap for young entrepreneurs,” he said on Wednesday after its final passage in the chamber.
Though many people in business-loving Texas do not know, lemonade stands are illegal in the state because homemade drinks are banned under the Texas Food Establishment Rules because of health concerns.
Recently, some unknowing parents eager to encourage their kids have run afoul of the law.
Three years ago, for example, police outside Tyler shut down a lemonade stand run by sisters Zoey and Andria Green, ages 7 and 8, because they did not have the proper permits.
Krause’s bill would let the little entrepreneurs have a taste of Texas’ lauded economic freedom. And he’s getting support from some high places in state government.
Land Commissioner George P. Bush tweeted a video of him buying from a (currently illegal) lemonade stand set up outside his office in Austin.
“Can’t think of anything more basic, more entrepreneurial, more creative for a child to begin the idea of learning the value of a dollar,” Bush said. “I’m encouraging my fellow Texans to support this piece of legislation that goes far to build imagination and creativity in our great state.”
He also has the support of Texans in low places, at least in terms of height.
Last month, 8-year-old Branson Burton of Austin testified in front of the House State Affairs committee that he supported the bill.
“This bill will support me and thousands of other kids to have the chance to start their own lemonade business without having to go figure out and pay for city permits or being worried about getting in trouble with the health department,” Branson said.
On last year’s Lemonade Day, born out of a program that encourages kids to become entrepreneurs, Branson negotiated a “prime location” with a neighbor who has a lot of street traffic. He made more than $300 in revenue and “after repaying my loans” pulled in $246 in profits, he said.
“It gave me confidence to be able to speak to people I haven’t met, like all of you,” Burton told committee members.