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Bill To Give Kids More Entrepreneurial Freedom Passes First Committee

DENVER (CBS4) - Kid entrepreneurs in Colorado won't have to jump through all of the hoops grown-ups do to get a business off the ground. That's if a bill at the State Capitol passes.

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A Denver mom is pushing for the bill. Police shut down the lemonade stand she had with her kids last summer in the Stapleton neighborhood. It was beside a festival with other vendors also selling lemonade.

Nyla Higgs is among the kid business owners supporting the bill.

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"The bill would really help a lot of different kids and a lot of different businesses."

The 16 year old started a lemonade business nine years ago, but never got a permit to operate.

"It's hard for us to find places to sell because you have to have a permit."

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Not if a bill by Sen. Angela Williams becomes law. It eliminates permits for kid-owned businesses that operate less than 84 days a year.

"I think we need to be encouraging entrepreneurship with our kids at an earlier age and not discouraging it," said Williams.

But not all kid entrepreneurs agree with the bill.

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Jack Bonneau (credit: CBS)

"84 days -- it's not the occasional lemonade stand that you put in your front yard," said Jack Bonneau, owner of Jacks Stands and Marketplaces. He says the bill creates an uneven playing field.

"First of all, it's not fair to us to be coddled and treated like we're any less... and it's also not fair to the other vendors who have to follow the rules." Rules that he says are in place for a reason.

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"Kids are germy, and they are messy. So, they're touching the ice, the lemons, the cups as they make the lemonade. So it is a threat to public health and safety," Bonneau said.

Williams says she shares Bonneau's concern.

"We don't want to put the health and safety of Coloradans at risk so that is a conversation we are having."

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The bill is also vague when it comes to where kid businesses can operate. It says they should be a sufficient distance from a commercial entity, but local governments would decide what's sufficient.

It's also unclear how the state will know if a kid is in business more than 84 days. Williams says they got 84 days from a Denver City ordinance, but isn't sure how they came up with the number.

The bill passed its first committee unanimously.

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