Cottage Food Law Battle Continues in Wisconsin

I am always happy to share good news stories about cottage food laws, but the picture is not always pretty. Unfortunately I just was made aware of the ongoing battle that home bakers in Wisconsin are engaged in currently. Although almost all of the states have passed the cottage food laws, it seems that home bakers in Wisconsin have their rights to make a honest living from home being held hostage. Even worse, it is under questionable circumstances.

Here is the information I have to share. I want to do what I can to help home bakers fight the battles. You can read the details that I found from the Wisconsin State Journal.

 Thanks to cottage food laws in almost every state, home bakers can quickly become food entrepreneurs and sell certain “non-hazardous” food products to the public made in their home kitchens, often with few regulations or governmental entanglements.

 But in Wisconsin, politics and industry influence have quickly burned your right to earn an honest livelihood. We have been working to get Wisconsin’s cottage food laws expanded to catch up with the rest of the country and include baked goods via the “Cookie Bill.” While this bill has had broad-based support, passing in the Senate multiple times, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, has failed to bring the bill to the Assembly floor for a vote. Fun fact: The Wisconsin Grocer’s Association has close ties to Speaker Vos, according to “CBS Sunday Morning.” Wisconsin also had the most restrictive cottage food law in the country. Coincidence? I think not.

A victory in favor of home bakers came when Judge Duane Jorgenson in Lafayette County ruled on May 31 that this ban is indeed unconstitutional and that the primary effect of this ban is to protect established businesses from competition. The Wisconsin Constitution protects the right to earn an honest living, and we are pleased the court agrees.

 So why then haven’t you seen new baking entrepreneurs popping up across the state since the judge ruled in our favor? Because Wisconsin has been defying the judge and fighting this ruling ever since. The state falsely claims the judge’s ruling only applies to the three plaintiffs: Dela, Kriss and me. The key ingredient in the state’s claim is nuts. Let me be clear that our trio of baking plaintiffs took on this legal challenge to benefit all bakers in Wisconsin. Unlike the well-funded special-interest groups, we cook up collaboration and think way beyond ourselves.

Do your job, Wisconsin. Get out there and let the judge’s ruling that the ban on the sale of home baked goods is unconstitutional stand. Stop spending our tax dollars to fight a ruling in favor of small business in Wisconsin. Start working for us, your citizens, and truly exemplify the message that our state is “open for business.”

From where I sit it sounds like more pressure needs to be put on the Wisconsin state politicians to let the home bakers enjoy the privileges that other states have given to entrepreneurs and small businesses in their states. If you live in Wisconsin, join Lisa, Kriss and Dela and let your representatives know that you want them to pass the cottage food laws in your state.


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