MADISON – Wisconsin Farmers Union applauds the Wisconsin State Senate Committee on Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations for passing SB271, also known as the “Cookie Bill,” on Wednesday, June 7.
“Wisconsin Farmers Union would like to thank Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, Rep. Jim Ott, and the bill’s long list of bipartisan cosponsors for supporting this legislation, which will encourage small business innovation and enterprise growth. WFU also recognizes Sen. Janis Ringhand and Representatives Ed Brooks and Michael Rohrkaste for their past work and dedication to this effort.” said WFU Government Relations Associate Nick Levendofsky.
The Cookie Bill would allow home-based food entrepreneurs to sell their non-hazardous baked goods via face-to-face sales, without needing a commercial license or commercial kitchen. The bill represents an important step forward for aspiring food entrepreneurs and would also help stimulate entrepreneurship in rural economies by enabling farmers to launch complimentary, food-based businesses.
The bill, which originally placed an income cap of $7,500 on individuals, was amended in the committee to allow for a $25,000 income cap. The $25,000 cap places Wisconsin at the national average for states with similar laws in place. Both the amendment and bill passed unanimously out of committee, and the amended bill now awaits scheduling before the full State Senate.
Levendofsky noted all other Midwest states including Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan, have successfully enacted versions of the Cookie Bill. “We need to quickly catch up with our Midwestern neighbors who are already championing such cottage food business start-ups, especially as the local food movement and interest in food artisans continues to grow in Wisconsin,” he said. “We applaud the Senate Committee on Public Benefits, Licensing and State-Federal Relations for passing the Cookie Bill, and look forward to the full Wisconsin Senate & Assembly doing the same in the near future.”