At first, it looked like the “cupcake-girl” bill suffered the same fate as an overbaked batch of brownies or cookies: It got tossed.
But the Illinois Senate had second thoughts, undoing a vote it had taken earlier in the day and voting to give a downstate 12-year-old cupcake baker the right to stay in business without her family having to build on a second kitchen in their home to satisfy their county public health department.
The Senate used a parliamentary maneuver to reverse a 17-32 vote that appeared to have killed legislation aimed to help Chloe Stirling. On a second try, the Senate voted 57-0 on legislation that would keep her mixing bowls spinning and bake-oven lit.
“Let them eat cupcakes,” said state Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, after the early-evening revote.
The offending language was demanded by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Apparently, Gov. Pat Quinn ordered a reversal after the bill went down in flames.
* The Tribune editorializes today on the cupcake bill fiasco…
Senators spent an hour debating whether the state should crack down on young business people such as Chloe, a 12-year-old from Troy. Chloe was earning $200 a month selling homemade cupcakes to family and friends. After she was featured in her local newspaper for her baking skills, the Madison County Health Department made a few phone calls and shut her down.
She was told she needed to set up a commercial kitchen if she wanted to sell her cupcakes. “The rules are the rules,” the health department spokeswoman told local reporters.
Lawmakers in the House who heard about this filed a bill to give Chloe a break. The bill would have barred county and state health departments from regulating small, home-based food businesses that earn less than $1,000 per month. It was a one-page bill. It passed without a dissenting vote.
* But there’s something that nobody has been mentioning. The only way they got that bill through the House was with language demanded by some Chicago-area public health officials…
This Section applies only to a home kitchen operation located in a municipality, township, or county where the local governing body has adopted an ordinance authorizing the direct sale of baked goods
Troy’s mayor is in the process of drafting an ordinance which would allow for these bake sales, so, the kid can’t legally sell her wares yet.
And unless Cook County, Chicago, etc. vote to allow this sort of thing, it ain’t gonna happen there, either.