Senator Syverson Questions Governor’s Motives with “Cupcake Girl”
Senator Dave Syverson says he finds the Governor’s seemingly newfound support of the “Cupcake Girl” legislation interesting in light of weeks of strong opposition from Quinn’s administration. “But it’s not the first time we have seen election year conversions on issues,” said Syverson.
The Governor has planned a public bill signing Tuesday with Chloe Stirling, better known as “Cupcake Girl,” for the legislation that was inspired by her battle with an overzealous health department.
Chloe became an Illinois celebrity when she lobbied lawmakers to help young entrepreneurs like herself. She had been selling cupcakes out of her home in Troy, Illinois, making less than $200 per month. That was until the Madison County Health Department decided to put her out of business. Chloe’s case shed light on current Illinois laws, which actually make bake sales and lemonade stands illegal. Typically, local health departments don’t enforce these laws against kids and home-baked goods for fundraisers.
In response, Representative Charles Meier (R-Highland) passed legislation through the Illinois House that would have exempted home kitchens from these onerous rules, provided that they earn less than $1000 per month from sales of the foods. It would also allow the health departments to inspect the home kitchen in the event of a complaint or disease outbreak.
“But then when the bill got to the Senate, the Quinn administration used a legislative maneuver to hijack the legislation, and undo what was a very popular common sense measure,” said Syverson. “They amended the bill to require full labeling requirements, including allergen notices, plus expensive licensing and training requirements. This would have applied to every single person selling cupcakes, cookies, or any other baked good from their home regardless of the amount.”
Senators Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon), Jim Oberweis (R-North Aurora), and Syverson filed alternative legislation and held a press conference to put public pressure on the Quinn administration to back down. Eventually the pressure and outrage from concerned citizens caused the Governor’s version of the legislation to fail in the Senate. Once the Democrat Senate sponsor finally relented and let the original Republican bill be called, it passed overwhelmingly.
“In the end what this shows is that even in Illinois, people can fight their out-of-control government and pass common sense legislation,” said Syverson. “The good news is that now children in Illinois will not be stifled from engaging in their entrepreneurial baking projects.”