It was a dark day for Overton, Texas sisters Andria and Zoey Green. With hope and joy in their little hearts, the girls set up a lemonade stand so they could raise money to buy their dad a life-changing Father’s Day gift. But their sweet idea had a sour ending when the cops arrived and turned off the taps.
It was 2015, the height of lemonade prohibition, and the clever girls were running an illegal operation.
“We were trying to raise some money to take our dad to Splash Kingdom,” eight-year-old Andria told KLTV at the time.
“Kiss Splash Kingdom goodbye,” a police officer on the scene might have thought to himself, or perhaps even said aloud to the girls. You see, Dad’s entrepreneurial daughters were hocking citrus without a permit and without approval from the health department. What would the girls do next? Kill indiscriminately?
“We have to follow by the state health guidelines. They have to have a permit if they’re going to do the lemonade stands,” said Overton Police Chief Clyde Carter, who may or may not have a poster of Eliot Ness in his office.
Texas House Bill 970 – otherwise known as the Texas Baker’s Bill – prohibits the sale of food that requires temperature control to prevent spoilage. The sisters needed a $150 permit to sell lemonade, which requires refrigeration to prevent the growth of bacteria.
The cops had a choice. To some, that choice might have been murky and yellow. But to the Overton police, it was clear: Shut down the lemonade stand and stop two little girls from embarking on a career of grisly and diabolical crime.
The Beginning of a Refreshing Era
Today, enterprising young children across Texas are celebrating.
In a video posted to Twitter earlier this week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a law that will prohibit police from shuttering lemonade stands run by kids. After he signed, Abbott raised a glass of icy cold lemonade in a celebratory toast.
“Here’s a common sense law,” Abbott says in the video. “We had to pass it because police shut down a lemonade stand here in Texas. So, kids…cheers!”
CNN reports that the bill was introduced by state Rep. Matt Krause, a Fort Worth Republican. His House Bill 234 states that “a municipality, county, or other local public health authority may not adopt or enforce an ordinance, order, or rule that prohibits an individual younger than 18 years of age from temporarily selling lemonade or other nonalcoholic beverages from a stand on private property.”
The new law takes effect on September 1, when it will still be hot in Texas. Thirsty Texans are eagerly anticipating a full-fledged epidemic of lemonade stands run by ambitious, pioneering young children who no longer have to operate in the shadows for fear of being crushed by The Man.
Parentology spoke with lemonade peddler Benji, age nine, who once earned an impressive $500 in just one day at his lemonade stand. When asked what he thinks of the new law, Benji stopped chewing on his delicious Big Stick Popsicle for a moment to say he was “happy.”
“If [a lemonade merchant] is trying to make money for whatever they want,” Benji told us from his California home, “and the police see them and just come shut them down, I think that’s pretty sad. And mean.”
No word on whether Benji plans to expand his lemonade empire into Texas.