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Sidewalk lemonade stands are as common a sight in summer as Little League baseball games, barbecues, and children running through sprinklers. But every year we read about someone, somewhere, who had to ruin the fun for some children who wanted to make a quick buck without nagging their parents.
After one such spin through the outrage cycle, a state representative in Texas decided to do something about it, drafting a bill that prevents local governments in the Lone Star State from prohibiting children from selling lemonade on private property. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law last month.
Standing up for Young Entrepreneurs
The Texas bill came about after a pair of sisters in Overton had their lemonade stand shut down in 2015 due to what police said was a failure to acquire the local government’s “peddler’s permit” and undergo an inspection by state health authorities.
Texas law does allow the home-based sale of some food items, but because lemonade requires refrigeration to prevent spoilage, the girls needed to take extra steps to make their operation legal.
Authored by state Rep. Matt Krause, the bill allows anyone under the age of 18 to “temporarily” sell lemonade or “other nonalcoholic beverages” on private property without having to worry about the long arm of the law shutting them down. No permits or inspections required.
The law goes into effect on Sept. 1, allowing children across Texas to capitalize on the remaining weeks of warm weather and giving them all winter to strategize about their big plans for next summer.
Texas is now one of only 16 states to legalize lemonade stands, according to Country Time Legal-Ade, an offshoot of the popular lemonade brand that advocates on behalf of legalizing the practice. The organization helps cover the costs associated with the fines and permits that children and their parents face when the law shuts their stands down.
Without legal protections in place, nosy neighbors are free to call police on children for running these illegal businesses.
If your state, county or local government does not allow lemonade stands, we can only hope that the children's entrepreneurial spirit is not completely stifled. It will only get harder to start and grow a business as they grow older.