Skip to comments.Illinois Declares Truce In Cupcake War
Posted on 06/06/2014 11:19:06 AM PDT by Drango
No one really thinks 12-year-old Chloe Stirling presents a menace to public health.
The Illinois girl has a knack for baking cupcakes and has done pretty well selling them. So well, in fact, that her local newspaper published a about her earlier this year. That drew the attention of the county health department which shut her down for selling baked goods without a license or a state-certified kitchen.
Last week, the Illinois Legislature passed a "cupcake bill" that would overturn the health department's policy and allow amateur bakers to sell a limited amount of bread and pastries without a license.
"Some of this stuff seems so stupid to me, that we have these rules," says Republican state Rep. Charlie Meier, who sponsored the bill.
Dozens of county health departments argued against Meier's measure, but it passed both the state House and Senate unanimously. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign it soon.
Lawmakers in a number of states have become convinced that state and local agencies are sticking their noses into too many kinds of businesses. It's not just doctors and Realtors who need a license. Depending on the state, florists, tour guides, interior designers and cosmetologists might need one, too.
Even some consumer groups are concerned that so much regulation does less to protect public health and safety than to dilute competition in the marketplace.
"I'm not endorsing giving business a free pass, but regulators should be focused on consumer issues that affect a broad swath of the public," says Amit Narang, regulatory policy advocate for Public Citizen, a consumer organization.
More Occupations Regulated
Back in the 1950s, only of Americans worked in jobs that required some form of state licensure. Today, that number is .
Paring back on occupational licensing has become a pet cause for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who has called on governors to deregulate where it makes sense.
The question of who gets regulated doesn't always seem to depend on safety and security.
"Only five states license shampooers, for instance," Rannesh Ponnuru in Bloomberg View. "Presumably, that's not because shampooing is exceptionally dangerous in those states."
Increased licensing requirements don't automatically translate into less risk, Narang says. With states and localities often stretched thin financially, they can't be an effective watchdog over every type of enterprise.
"Having rules on the books doesn't necessarily mean that agencies are as focused on enforcing those rules and mandating compliance," Narang says.
Rules May Benefit Companies
That's not to say he thinks regulating business isn't important. Few but the most libertarian would want to return to a time say, a century ago when government oversight was light to nonexistent and industrial accidents such as the and sales of were far more common.
Governments want to keep an eye not only on industries that can affect life and limb, but on enterprises where major consumer dollars are at stake, such as car dealers and home contractors.
"There really is a justification for using those requirements as a means to make sure that somebody knows what they're doing when they want to engage in a profession," says Susan Grant, director of consumer protection at the Consumer Federation of America, "and also locating them when there are problems."
But regulation and licensing which can require extensive training and certification can lead to higher prices for consumers.
The push for new regulation sometimes comes not from consumers who complain to policy makers when they feel they've been ripped off or put at risk, but rather from existing firms that want to make it more difficult for competitors to set up shop.
"The first thing that comes out of regulators' mouths is, 'It's never consumers who ask us to regulate, it's always people in the industry,' " says Katelynn McBride, an attorney for the Institute for Justice, which . "New entrants are coming into the market and they need to be shielded from competition."
Chloe Comes Out Ahead
When it comes to baked goods, state officials recognize that there's relatively little health risk, compared with meat or raw foods.
But the amount of so-called cottage foods they'll allow individuals to sell without a license varies tremendously from $5,000 a year in Minnesota to 10 times that amount in Texas and California.
The Illinois bill allows unlicensed bakers to bring in as much as $1,000 a month as long as they warn customers their kitchens haven't been inspected. The legislation bars local governments from further regulation unless there's an outbreak of food-borne illness.
Meier, the Illinois state representative, says amateur bakers should be able to see a small profit, in order to test the market and see if they might be able to make a more serious go of it before bearing the costs of setting up a commercial kitchen.
"In Chloe's situation, if she goes on like this, she probably will open a bakery," Meier says.
She's well on her way. The cupcake bill brought her national attention, including an on Rachael Ray's Food Network show, and local merchants have and built an extension for it onto her house.
Not sure why florist tour guides, interior designers and cosmetologists need regulation. But I'm glad doctors have regulations.
Once someone is established in any niche of the economy,
they can lobby/bribe government officials to shut out competition.
The key to stopping this is to take such regulatory power away from the gov’t at all levels.
Can we trade some terrorists for her?
Look like someone forgot to look up the numbers and add them to the story.
Is it illegal to eat the food you make at home?
Cosmotologists need to be trained and licenced because they are putting potentially dangerous chemicals on people.
Most government licensing is a scam to benefit existing players.
It might be useful for there to be a directive that kids up to the age of 16 should be left to their cupcake and lemonade stands without incurring the wrath of some huta [head up the ass]bureaucrat.
The linked NPR story has a linked story that has the 30% info you're looking for at the New York Times and the story is even more worrisome than THIS story. . . The government is busy licensing ever job they can get their regulatory hands on. . . usually low end service jobs that make them harder for the people who NEED low paying service jobs to qualify for the job.
But that's a debate on the continuum. A scalp burn while painful and potentially disfiguring is seldom life threatening...
Can't this be regulated by letting consumers choose who they let treat their hair?
GASP. We agree on something!
didn’t California make burger flippers get a license and pay a fee?
But don’t give them any ideas.
You’re an addict.
I think it is about the government getting their cut and the ability for them to punish those that won't go along.
Calif. Law Will Require License to Flip Burgers
Oct 7, 2010
Damn shame, that.
Why is there licensing for anything?
Milton Freidman makes a very compelling case for unlicensed doctors. He points out that during the mass exodus from Europe, the AMA refused to allow an increase in the number of licenses. Likewise, they limit the number of AMA approved schools. Most licensing is to protect market share, nothing more.
Now private licensing is another matter entirely. Government enforced licensing is protection for business, not consumer.
I’m in love with Milton Freidman. Still this may be a bridge too far.
That said, the AMA clearly acts as a union and limits competition. I’m not sure how this relates to regulation of Doctors however.
It is another way to get money from people. If a 10 year old is selling lemonade, is the local Pepsi bottler going to be hurt by said 10 year old?