Baked-Goods Bill Gaining Traction

OPINION
By Liam Marlaire
The Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Wis.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A proposed bill in Wisconsin would remove barriers for people who want to make home-baked goods and sell them directly to consumers. The law currently requires bakers to obtain a license, use a commercial kitchen and submit to inspections and fees.

The Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Wis.

In the world of government overreach, this example may just take the cake.

Selling homemade baked goods in Wisconsin, such as cookies and muffins, had been banned until LaFayette County Judge Duane Jorgenson recently ruled against the measure after three women represented by the Institute for Justice challenged the state law.

According to The Associated Press, “The law … required bakers to obtain a license, which requires using a commercial kitchen, submitting to inspections and paying fees.”

State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, has co-authored Senate Bill 271, an amended version of which was passed by a Senate committee shortly after the judge’s decision.

SB 271 passed on a voice vote in the full Senate on Wednesday, while the companion bill, AB 360, awaits a public hearing in an Assembly committee.

“This bill would remove those barriers and allow people to produce truly home-baked goods and sell them directly to consumers,” said Nick Levendofsky, government relations associate with the Chippewa Falls-based Wisconsin Farmers Union, of SB 271.

—-Eliminating the ban would allow the producers of baked goods to sell their products at events such as farmers markets.

A $7,500 income cap in Harsdorf’s original bill was raised to $25,000 by the Senate committee. That brings Wisconsin up to the national average for states with similar laws, Levendofsky said.

The Associated Press reported Harsdorf’s bill “would allow people to sell without a license if they do it face-to-face, register with state consumer protection officials and generate less than $25,000 in annual revenue.”

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