Senate changes its mind, OKs modified 'cupcake bill'
SPRINGFIELD — Reversing a vote it had taken about three hours earlier, the Illinois Senate on Tuesday evening passed the so-called "cupcake bill," a measure that prohibits state and local public health officials from regulating home-based baking operations provided their sales are less than $1,000 a month and the product is labeled as homemade.
The Senate vote was 57-0, capping a long day of legislative matters in the final week of the spring session. The bill now goes to the governor for approval.
The Senate sponsor of the cupcake bill, Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, said the second vote of the day on HB 5354 was the result of meetings between himself; Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago; Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville; and the governor's office.
Earlier the Senate had rejected an amended version of the legislation, giving it only 17 of the 30 votes needed for passage. That version, which was much more restrictive than the bill that had come from the House, said that anyone selling their own home-baked goods would have to undergo sanitation training and receive certification which could cost $205 a year, label all the ingredients in their products, notify customers that their products were made in a home and restrict their sales.
The original legislation was in response to news coverage earlier this year when 12-year-old Chloe Stirling of Troy, had her homemade cupcake business shut down by health officials in Madison County.
Opponents ridiculed the Senate version of the bill Tuesday afternoon. Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, said it would "destroy entrepreneurship" in Illinois.
Sen. Dan Duffy, R-Barrington, called the measure "the most outrageous and pathetic bill I've ever seen."
"You are literally stifling entrepreneurs, innovators and creators at young ages," Duffy said. "Is this really what you want to do?"
"This is a girl from a responsible family, who's selling cupcakes, and for Pete's sake, we ought to just let her sell the cupcakes unless someone dies of an overdose of them," said Sen. William Haine, D-Alton.
But Trotter tried to portray the measure as instructive for young entrepreneurs.
"It sounds good to talk about all these things — that we're stifling entrepreneurship," he said. "No, we're actually encouraging it the right way. There are laws that have to be adhered to when you sell to the public. There are things we must be cognizant of, and that is the allergies or the other things that will impact other individuals' health."