Home bakers throughout the state of Illinois have a 12-year-old girl to thank for their businesses being saved.
On Tuesday, Gov. Pat Quinn (D) signed into law the "Cupcake Bill", allowing entrepreneurs like 12-year-old Chloe Stirling to legally sell baked goods or other foods or beverages -- such as lemonade sold from a lemonade stand -- created in their homes for themselves or on behalf of a religious, charitable or non-profit group, so long as they don't gross more than $1,000 in sales per month.
— Governor Pat Quinn (@GovernorQuinn) June 10, 2014
Stirling started her own small business, called "Hey Cupcake!", out of her parents' kitchen in Troy, Illinois, selling cupcakes to friends and family as well as to fundraisers. Not long after a local newspaper published a feature on her treats, the Madison County Health Department intervened, shutting down her operation because she lacked a proper license and because the kitchen was not commercially certified.
It wasn't long before the shutdown of Stirling's cupcake business attracted international headlines and the sixth-grader appeared on the "Rachael Ray" show.
Illinois lawmakers soon stepped in, crafting the so-called "Cupcake Bill," but it was almost derailed when amendments were added that would have required home bakers to take sanitation training, label ingredients and pay licensing fees of about $200, the Chicago Sun-Times previously reported.
The amendments were dropped after some lawmakers criticized the added "red tape". The legislation was approved unanimously in the state Senate after previously passing through the House.
Under the new plan, local health departments may only inspect a home kitchen "in the event of a complaint or disease outbreak."
Tuesday's bill signing took place in Stirling's kitchen, where it all began.
"When all of this started, we didn't know what to do,” Stirling said in a statement from Gov. Quinn's office. “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!”
While Senate Republicans applauded the bill signing, they criticized the governor, claiming he only backed the less strict version of the bill after public outcry mounted, the Chicago Tribune reports.