SPRINGFIELD - Legislation inspired by 11-year-old Chloe Stirling of Troy and sponsored by state Rep.Charlie Meier, R-Okawville, passed the Illinois House of Representatives today unanimously. House Bill 5354 will allow "home kitchen operations" to continue baking and selling homemade goods in a limited capacity.

"I am pleased with today's passage of the cupcake bill, although this bill isn't what I originally proposed, I was happy to make the changes in order to allow Chloe Stirling and all home kitchen operators in Illinois to have the chance to continue functioning," Meier said. "Current law has a negative impact on home kitchen operators like Chloe, but once this bill becomes law, they should be able to continue selling baked items without having the fear of being shut down by the health department."

Meier's legislation was inspired by the news that Chloe Stirling's home-based cupcake bakery was shut down by the Madison County Health Department. Meier decided to draft legislation that would allow Stirling to continue operating her business in a limited fashion. Although Meier's original legislation did not allow for the Illinois Department of Public Health or the health department of a local unit of government to regulate home kitchen operations, the bill that passed the House today does. Meier amended the bill in order to allow the Department of Public Health or the local health department to have the ability to inspect a home kitchen operation in the event of a complaint or disease outbreak. The bill also requires the local governing body in which a home kitchen operation exists to have adopted an ordinance authorizing the direct sale of baked goods before the operation can function.

In order to qualify as a home kitchen operation, monthly gross sales cannot exceed $1,000, the food cannot be potentially hazardous, and the operator must provide to the purchaser that the food was produced in a home kitchen.

House Bill 5354 now moves to the State Senate for final approval.

More than 25,000 pounds of canned food donated in 10th Simmons employee drive

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    ALTON — Simmons Hanly Conroy employees donated a significant amount of canned items to five Madison County food pantries for the holidays.
    The firm’s Alton office collected 25,834 pounds of food during its 10th Annual Simmons Employee Foundation Food Drive. In addition to a 5,000-pound donation of food, each pantry also received a $1,000 donation from the foundation earlier in October.

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