The Heartland Institute
February 19, 2020
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to testify today. My name is Cameron Sholty and I am the director of Government Relations at The Heartland Institute – a 37-year-old independent, national, nonprofit organization whose mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. Heartland is headquartered in Illinois and focuses on providing national, state, and local elected officials with reliable and timely research and analyses on important policy issues.
HB 961, legislation that would allow children to operate lemonade stands without a permit, is indeed an important public policy issue because it hearkens to the core of what America stands for and what policymakers should value and promote: freedom and hard work.
My testimony is brief because the idea is simple and the legislation is easily understood.
I think we can all agree that we want kids to embrace the values of hard work, entrepreneurship, and personal responsibility. For America’s youth, operating old-fashioned lemonade stands in our communities is the embodiment of the American spirit. Children selling lemonade to thirsty patrons should be celebrated – not burdened like a sack of lemons on a farmhand’s back.
For generations, children from all walks of life have sought to make a few bucks while pitching lemonade to their neighbors. As legislators, bills like HB 961 are commonsense measures to ensure that kids can sell their homemade drinks, without being harassed by local authorities or attaining a preposterous permit just to sell tasty lemonade.
Unfortunately, we are in the midst of a society that is so burdened with endless regulations that we actually need to pass a bill to protect the rights of children to set-up a lemonade stand. Just think how ludicrous this is. How did we get here?
Shockingly, only 16 states allow the unlicensed and unregulated sale of lemonade at locally owned and operated lemonade stands. On the other hand, 34 states have passed legislation that shackles the entrepreneurial spirit of these young titans of the beverage industry.
I would like to remind you of the unbelievable incident in which a woman under her alter-ego “Permit Patty”, actually called 911 on an 8-year-old African-American girl for selling water on a San Francisco sidewalk in the summer of 2018. This young woman wanted to help her mother who was recently unemployed and was trying to earn money to go to Disneyland.
I think we can all agree that such magical trips shouldn’t be derailed by court dates and fines for a failure to procure a permit to sell water to thirsty Orioles fans!
And closing out, let me make one final point. This pandemic has been exhausting for *everyone*. I’d rather be there in Annapolis talking with you, but I’m here in Chicago. We are so very close to life starting to shift towards something more akin to normal. And normal should include hot summer days across the State of Maryland and children on sidewalks selling lemonade to thirsty Free Staters.
Thank you for your time and attention to this important issue.
For more information about The Heartland Institute’s work, please visit our websites at www.heartland.org or http:/news.heartland.org, or call Cameron Sholty at 312/377-4000. You can reach Cameron Sholty by email at [email protected]