Kids' lemonade stands would avoid police crackdown under proposed Minnesota bill

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After a Minneapolis teen’s hot dog stand was almost shut down last summer, state Sen. Roger Chamberlain has a bill allowing any child under age 14 to operate a lemonade stand, hot dog stand or other temporary stand without a permit. 

In the dead of winter, a Minnesota state senator is looking ahead to summer with legislation blocking police from shutting down kids’ lemonade and hot dog stands.

The bill, authored by Sen. Roger Chamberlain, would allow children under age 14 to run temporary stands without a permit, as long as they’re on private property and take in less than $1,000 per year.

The measure comes after a 13-year-old Minneapolis boy almost had his hot dog stand closed last summer because he was operating without a permit. Chamberlain’s bill awaits a vote in the Senate after passing a committee last week. 

“We all want safe food and to be protected when we eat, but I have not in my entire life been exposed to an outbreak of anything from buying lemonade or a hotdog on a street corner,” said Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes.

At a news conference where kids passed out lemonade to guests, Chamberlain said he wasn’t aware of any Minnesota kids who’d actually had their stands shut down.

Several of the children read statements in support of the legislation, making note of the difficulties they’d face in seeking a permit to operate.

“When looking at the form for a small-time vendor, I noticed Minnesota tax identification number, business owner social security number, federal employer identification number, and policy number,” said Michael Kysylyczyn, 13. “After trying to figure out what all those numbers are, you have to pay $50 in fees.”

Utah created a law in 2017 exempting kids from the permit requirement. Wisconsin lawmakers proposed doing the same in 2018, but the bill failed to pass the state Senate after clearing the Assembly.

Chamberlain said he’s already been hearing from constituents about his proposal.

“When they heard about it, I got two nasty emails from people saying, ‘You’re crazy, this is a safety issue.’ That’s what we’re trying to stop,” Chamberlain said. “I wish we wouldn’t have to, but you’ve got to have some fun sometime in life right?”