Bill would exempt kids’ lemonade stands from fees and regulations

DOVER — When life handed a group of elementary school students lemons, they helped craft legislation protecting lemonade stands in Delaware.
The students from W. Reily Brown Elementary School’s Student Lighthouse Team, led by Rep. Andria Bennett, are hoping to protect young entrepreneurs in the state from having their lemonade stands fined and shut down.

On Monday, Rep. Bennett and the group of students discussed the proposed bill at the school.
The bill, which will be filed Thursday, would keep a child-run stand that operates on a temporary basis to sell non-alcoholic beverages on private property exempt from licensing fees and other state, county and municipal regulations.

The groundwork for the legislation began in the summer, when Rep. Bennett said she read a CNN article about how children operating lemonade stands could be fined and have their stand shut down in some states.
In Texas, one town required a $150 peddler’s permit and health department permit to operate a lemonade stand before legislation addressed it.

She began to wonder about the child in her neighborhood who set up a stand every summer, she said.
“It got me thinking about whether she could be fined,” she said. “I came to find out across the country, some kids face consequences for operating lemonade stands and they had to be shut down.”

Delaware code is very vague, Rep. Bennett said, and children could be subject those strict regulations. The bill would provide clarity, so there wouldn’t be any consequences for stands that meet the proposed criteria.

When she spoke to the students during this year’s Lighthouse induction ceremony, she thought that the students would enjoy seeing the legislative process.
She came to a several of the Lighthouse meetings to talk about the lemonade stand legislation and invited them to Legislative Hall to discuss in further detail.

“We made them honorary representatives and then we just discussed the bill,” she said. “They were really excited and engaged. I think it shows them that the community does have a say, and it shows them how we work through issues and how it can come down to that local level like that.”

Lighthouse is a student council, consisting of student leaders.
“For some kids that don’t know that lemonade stands aren’t legal, we wanted to make a difference so that they can actually have fun while doing it and not have it be shut down after the hard work that they put into making the lemonade, and making the stand as well,” said Karri McFadden, a fifth-grader who serves as co-president to Lighthouse.

Karri added that it has a good opportunity for her and her peers to work with Rep. Bennett in this way.
“It’s been great because a lot of them have come up with really good ideas and then I came up with a good idea, and then we combined it and made this great idea,” she said. “I think that it’s a great opportunity that Rep. Bennett chose Caesar Rodney and that she chose our Student Lighthouse Team and that I’m able to be a part of this and that I can make a law at a young age.”

It also helped foster an interest in local politics, Karri noted.
“I think it’s really cool because you get to find out the different ways to make legislation,” she said.
Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, superintendent of Caesar Rodney School District, added that education — beyond reading, writing and arithmetic — intends to make good citizens.

“Today, you’re students, but tomorrow you’re going to be the leaders in our community,” he told the students. “And you’ve now learned just how to get the job done, how to make changes and make changes for the better.”

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