Children’s lemonade stands in Colorado could soon be spared from being soured by local regulations.
A bill inspired by three young Denver boys whose lemonade stand was shut down by police last summer for lacking a permit has been introduced in the Colorado Senate.
It would allow anyone under the age of 18 to operate a business for up to 84 days without a permit and free from any other local regulation that could hinder their entrepreneurship. That means while the measure was inspired by a shuttered lemonade stand, it actually could open the door to all kinds of small businesses run by young people.
Senate Bill 103, introduced Thursday, is backed by groups promoting childhood entrepreneurs and even the National Federation of Independent Business.
The Denver case that inspired the legislation drew international attention — and outrage. Jennifer Knowles’ sons — then ages 2,4 and 6 — simply wanted to use a sunny day in the city’s Stapleton neighborhood over Memorial Day Weekend to raise money for people less fortunate when law enforcement ended their fun.
Since then, Knowles’ says she has “communicated with some families across the country who have run into similar issues as we have here in Colorado.” She’s even adpoted a social media persona — lemonadestandmama — to lead the charge for loosening regulations around kids’ businesses.
“There is so much division in our country today,” she said. “I am happy to be part of something that we can all support — supporting kids’ entrepreneurship.”
Denver City Council already addressed the outrage by passing an ordinance legalizing children’s businesses. The statewide bill is modeled after that move.
The bill has broad bipartisan support in the legislature. Sen. Angela Williams, a Denver Democrat whose district includes Stapleton, is leading the push for the measure and hopes to use it as part of broader efforts to drum up support for child entrepreneurs.
There are plans for a children’s vendor fair in the Capitol surrounding the bill’s first hearing, which will likely be sometime next month.
“This is not a business that is operating day-to-day, 365 days a year,” Williams said. “I believe that we need to be encouraging kid entrepreneurship and not discouraging it. I think this bill will allow more kids to be creative and innovative in their businesses.”
As for the Knowles’ and her family? Her oldest son will be testifying on the bill’s behalf when it reaches a committee hearing.
If you were wondering, the boys have had a few more lemonade stands since their story went viral over the summer.
“And they are looking forward to many more,” Knowles said.
More from The Colorado Sun
- Aspen-area men killed in avalanche near Crested Butte, bringing Colorado’s 2018-2019 avalanche death toll to 4
- Sunriser: Colorado’s AG vs. Trump, fixing school finance, what a state family leave program could look like, Crested Butte’s face “lift” and more
- Colorado to join lawsuit challenging Trump emergency declaration, AG cites impact to military construction budget
- Crested Butte may be the gem in Vail Resorts’ portfolio, but its lifts must be fixed before it can shine
- Few Colorado workers get paid time off to care for a new baby or sick family member. Changing that is a key goal for Democrats.