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D.C. joins movement to protect kids running lemonade stands

  • The Lemonade Stand Amendment Act of 2019 would let minors run small-scale businesses in the District of Columbia, the latest government entity aiming to protect kids' seasonal businesses.
  • Brandon Todd, the council member who introduced the legislation, said stories of kids getting harassed for being entrepreneurs are becoming "far too common."
  • Setting up a lemonade stand is legal in only 16 states, according to Country Time, the Kraft Heinz lemonade brand.

Running a lemonade stand may soon no longer be a criminal operation in the District of Columbia. The district is joining a small, but growing crowd of cities and states looking to protect kids partaking in the time-honored summertime business.

Introduced Tuesday, the Lemonade Stand Amendment Act of 2019 would let minors operate small-scale businesses in the district, so long as they're running for no more than 100 days and the business is located a reasonable distance from any licensed commercial entities.

"Examples of harassment of minors for engaging in entrepreneurial activities such as running a lemonade stand or selling water have become far too common," Democratic council member Brandon Todd reportedly said in introducing his bill. "Particularly when we should be encouraging our youth to be entrepreneurs and self-starters."

The issue seemingly is noncontroversial, at least in D.C., where all of Todd's council colleagues signed on as co-sponsors to his bill.

A growing movement

Similar moves have been made elsewhere. A bill that would block New York health inspectors from closing kids' lemonade stands recently passed a state Senate committee and appears on its way to becoming law. The governor of Texas in June signed a measure making it legal for kids to run lemonade stands, and Colorado passed legislation in 2017 blocking localities from mandating minors get a business license to run a small business.

That said, in most of the country, children setting up shop on sidewalks or elsewhere in the hopes of selling cups of the sugary drinks to parched passersby are required to get a business license or a vending site permit. The arcane technicality is likely ignored much of the time, yet enough kids have been busted for the offense that some states and even a big lemonade company have weighed in on the issue.

Kraft Heinz's Country Time lemonade brand last year launched a program dubbed "Legal-Ade" to compensate kids fined for running stands. According to the company, selling lemonade is legal in just 16 of the 50 states.

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