By Steve Horrell
Edwardsville Intelligencer, Ill.
On Tuesday, Gov. Pat Quinn traveled to 12-year-old Chloe Stirling’s home in Troy to sign legislation that will loosen regulations for home kitchen operations such as Chloe’s home-based “Hey Cupcake!” baking business.
The “cupcake bill” was drafted after Madison County Health Department officials shut down her business until she either bought a bakery or had a separate kitchen added to the Stirlings’ home.
She had used her business to provide treats for friends, relatives and fundraisers, including for the family of fallen Troy serviceman Bradley Smith.
The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville, prohibits state and county health departments from regulating home-based cooking operations making less than $1,000 a month. Chloe’s mother, Heather Stirling, confirmed Tuesday that her daughter made less than $1,000 month.
“Democracy is for everyone, and I salute Chloe Stirling for getting involved and making a difference for a cause she believes in,” Quinn said. “Thanks to her leadership, Chloe and other small-scale, home-based entrepreneurs are experiencing the sweet smell of success today. This new law ensures others like Chloe can continue their homemade operations without worry.”
In a phone interview following the press conference, Heather Stirling said that she and Chloe had traveled to Springfield in March and testified before the House of Representatives; they returned two months later to testify before the Senate.
The bill passed the House but was initially defeated in the Senate after several amendments were added. Quinn said he convinced Senators to “put the bill back in the oven,” remove the amendments and reconsider it. It passed unanimously.
Quinn wasn’t the only politician to make it to the press conference in Troy. Heather Stirling said that Quinn and Meier were joined by three state senators: Democrats Bill Haine of Alton and James Clayborne of Belleville and Republican Kyle McCarter of Decatur. Troy Mayor Al Adomite was also on hand.