As promised, governor signs ‘cupcake bill’ at girl’s Troy home

TROY – Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday was joined by 12-year-old Chloe Stirling and her parents at their Troy home to sign legislation that supports home kitchen businesses in Illinois.

The “cupcake bill” was drafted after county health officials shut down Chloe’s home-based cupcake baking business.

“Democracy is for everyone and I salute Chloe Stirling for getting involved and making a difference for a cause she believes in,” Quinn said. “Thanks to her leadership, Chloe and other small-scale, home-based entrepreneurs are experiencing the sweet smell of success today. This new law ensures others like Chloe can continue their homemade operations without worry.”

Chloe used her small, home-based baking business, “Hey Cupcake!”, to provide treats for friends, relatives and fundraisers, including for the family of fallen Troy servicemember Senior Airman Bradley Smith. She achieved fame after her home cupcake-sale operation was shut down, making news headlines around the country.

Chloe and her mother, Heather, traveled to Springfield to lobby for a proposal that would pave the way for home kitchen businesses making less than $1,000 per month. The bill passed the Illinois House of Representatives but was initially defeated in the Senate after several amendments were added. Quinn said he convinced Senators to put the bill “back into the oven,” remove the amendments and reconsider it, after which it passed unanimously.

“When all of this started, we didn’t know what to do,” Chloe Stirling said. “In the end, we made it work so lots of home cooks can do what they love just like me. I am really happy that a bunch of people worked together to find a solution and I can’t wait to get back to baking!”

House Bill 5354, sponsored by state Rep. Charles Meier, R-Okawville, and state Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, defines a “home kitchen operation” and authorizes the state or county health department to inspect a home kitchen operation in the event of a complaint or disease outbreak. The legislation is effective immediately.

The bill creates a new category of “home kitchen operators” for those who make less than $1,000 from producing food in their own homes to sell either by themselves or for a religious, charitable or nonprofit organization. Home kitchen operators cannot be regulated or shut down by local governments or health departments unless there is a complaint or health safety issue.

“I am pleased that we reached an agreement on a common-sense law that benefits everyone, from the home-based producers to the consumers,” Trotter said. “I commend Chloe Stirling for showing all of us what some ingenuity, desire and a never-say-die attitude can accomplish.”

“After months of hard work crafting a common-sense piece of legislation that allows Chloe and other home-based kitchen operators to continue baking and selling their goods, I am happy that Governor Quinn is here today to sign the ‘Cupcake Bill’ into law,” Meier said. “Now, these small business owners will not have to fear getting shut down by the local health department and will have the freedom to grow and prosper.”

“I’m pleased common sense prevailed and 12-year-old Chloe Stirling and kids like her, who are inspired to start their first business, to earn a little money for spending or saving, can realize their dreams,” state Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon,said.

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