There is good news for young entrepreneurs coming out of the Lone Star State, as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) recently signed a bill allowing children to operate lemonade stands without needing a permit. Specifically, it “prohibits cities and neighborhood associations from enacting rules that block or regulate minors trying to sell nonalcoholic beverages on private property.” According to the Texas Tribune:
Support for such a law in Texas began to grow in 2015, when police in the East Texas town of Overton reportedly shut down a lemonade stand by two young siblings who were trying to earn money to buy a Father's Day present.
The bill, authored by state Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, passed unanimously in both chambers.
Lemonade stands have a special place in American society as a heart-warming way for young kids to earn a little bit of money in a safe environment close to home, while also learning some basic business skills. My colleagues Iain Murray and Ryan Young wrote about the special place of the lemonade stand in American culture for Townhall back in 2011:
America is a country founded on entrepreneurship and free enterprise. That’s why one of its most enduring childhood traditions is the lemonade stand. It teaches children initiative, about the value of money and how to earn it. Recently, however, children have been learning entirely different lessons—that bureaucrats are in charge and you cross them at your peril.
Bureaucrats have the power to pick winners and losers—a power many are happy to exploit. Lydia Coenen of Appleton, Wisconsin, recently learned about this dark side of competition. Appleton hosts an Old Car Show every year near her house. She and a neighbor have been selling lemonade and cookies to passersby for the last six years. This year, they were shut down by police. Vendors inside the car show didn’t appreciate the competition, so they convinced the city council to ban concession sales within a certain radius of the Old Car Show, putting young Lydia and her friend out of business.
Lydia, unfortunately, is just one of many kids who have been muscled out of the sweetened beverage market by the police and other local government officials over the years. The assault on preteen free enterprise has become so odious that County Time, the brand of lemonade mix owned by Kraft, started their own “Legal-Ade” campaign to protect these young businesspeople, which Ryan Young blogged about last summer. They’ll reimburse parents for fines of up to $300 incurred in the pursuit of kid-operated commerce. In case you need to know the details:
There are two ways to enter: (1) If your child received a fine for operating a lemonade stand without a permit during the 2018 or 2019 calendar year, take a photo of the fine and a write brief description of what your child's lemonade stand means to him or her, in his or her own words. (2) If you are seeking reimbursement for a permit, follow the instructions to upload the image of the permit for 2019 and a brief description of what your child's lemonade stand means to him or her, in his or her own words.
But wait—there’s more! Author Connor Boyack has written a book titled “Lessons from a Lemonade Stand: An Unconventional Guide to Government,” that uses the conflict over summer drink sales to explain some deep concepts like the state’s monopoly on force and how we expect authority to derive from the consent of the governed. It features encouraging endorsement quotes from our old friends Larry Reed of the Foundation for Economic Education and Isaac Morehouse of Praxis, so you know it comes highly recommended. You can even request a copy for only the cost of shipping and handling at lemonadefreedom.com.
Finally, PragerU also has a great video that uses the lemonade stand example to explain the practical impact of government regulation: