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Bill of the Day: Protecting little...

Bill of the Day: Protecting little Johnny’s lemonade stand from heavy-handed city governments

By: Frank Corder - January 10, 2022

Y’all Politics brings you a Bill of the Day from the Mississippi Legislature that just may pique your interest.

Young entrepreneurs setting up a table on the sidewalk in front of their house selling mom’s lemonade and a fresh baked cookie hot out of the oven has been a staple of American life for generations.

Yet, some cities across the country have taken the heavy-handed step to force these minors to buy a business permit or license just to try their hand at free enterprise on an extremely small scale. In doing so, these cities often strain limited local code enforcement and police resources in an effort to crack down on little Johnny and little Suzy making a quarter.

State Senator Kevin Blackwell (R) has filed a bill in the Mississippi Legislature to protect these minors’ ability to get their feet wet in business, providing “common-sense” relief where it may be lacking. The bill would ban a local governmental entity, or any unit of a local governmental entity, from requiring a license or permit for a business operated on an occasional basis by a minor that is located a significant distance from a commercial entity.

SB 2025 says in the absence of common-sense relief, laws imposed and administered at the local level requiring businesses to obtain permits or licenses to operate, with the distinct possibility of criminal or civil penalties for noncompliance, may be used to ensnare minors – those under 18 – wanting to operate small-scale businesses on a very limited basis.

“These laws impose inordinate and heavy-handed regulatory burdens on minor entrepreneurs who are not seeking to compete with fully established commercial entities operated by adults, frustrate and thwart entrepreneurial activity minors have undertaken from the founding of the republic as a means to learn about business and economic principles and to make money, and divert law enforcement resources of local governments from investigating and prosecuting more serious criminal or civil matters,” Senator Blackwell writes in the bill.

Saying that the matter is of statewide concern, the bill would have the Legislature enact a uniform ban on the imposition and administration of such licensing and permitting laws across the state, avoid the inconsistent application of licensing and permitting laws depending upon the political subdivision in which a minor’s business is being operated, and give every minor entrepreneur across the state an even playing field within which to gain practical experience in business and economic matters and an opportunity to make money by operating a business on a limited basis that does not intend to compete with permanent, ongoing commercial entities operated by adults.

You can read the full version of the bill here.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications such as the Daily Caller. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: