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‘Lemonade freedom day is here’ for Texas kids after lawmakers sign off on bill

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Hope you are thirsty, Texans.

Lemonade stands run by kids soon may be springing up across the state.

On Sunday, Texas lawmakers unanimously signed off on a plan to let young Texans legally run their own lemonade stands, sending the measure to Gov. Greg Abbott for consideration.

“Lemonade freedom day is here,” state Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, author of the bill, said after the vote.

Many people don’t know it, but lemonade stands actually are illegal in Texas because of old food establishment rules.

It wasn’t a big deal in Texas until a few years ago, when Tyler police shut down a lemonade stand run by two elementary students who were trying to raise money to take their dad to a water park for Father’s Day.

Krause got the idea to file a bill making these stands legal from Country Time Lemonade, which put together a team known as Legal-Ade to help pay for permits and fines for kids across the country who were fined for not having proper permits for their lemonade stands.

The House and Senate disagreed about a provision in the bill earlier this month.

The House said children could run lemonade stands — without having to pay fees or have permits or licenses — on private property and in parks. The Senate version indicated that homeowners associations could call for the removal of a stand if the child running it didn’t live in the subdivision.

“Sometimes the Senate, although well intentioned, will send us over deficient language,” Krause told the House with a grin. “Let’s call those lemons. When that happens, it is our opportunity, nay responsibility, to turn those lemons into lemonade.”

The proposal went to a conference committee to address that difference after state Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, called on the House to make sure HOAs wouldn’t send “their goons to go see” children running the stands.

The House and Senate on Sunday formally approved House Bill 234 to let younger Texans legally run stands selling lemonade or any nonalcoholic beverage on private property, in public parks or in neighborhoods governed by homeowners associations.

They don’t have to live in the subdivision governed by the HOA, but they must have the permission of someone who does live there, according to the conference committee report.

“You can tell those HOA goons and everyone else to get lost, right?” Wu asked Krause.

“That’s right,” Krause replied.

“With this report, we’ve taken lemons and made lemonade,” said state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, who carried the bill in the Senate.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick even weighed in on the measure.

“To think that anyone would deny them that privilege, and that we have to come here and pass a bill, is unbelievable,” he said.

If Abbott signs the bill into law, it will go into effect Sept. 1.

Monday is the last day of the legislative session.

Staff writer Tessa Weinberg contributed to this report.
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Anna M. Tinsley grew up in a journalism family and has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 2001. She has covered the Texas Legislature and politics for more than two decades and has won multiple awards for political reporting, most recently a third place from APME for deadline writing. She is a Baylor University graduate.

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