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cookie bill
PATRICK CHRISTIANS

If buying Girl Scout Cookies has become too political for you, in light of the whole "Cookiecott" scandal, you may be in luck, thanks to a bill making its way through the Wisconsin Legislature.

The so-called cookie bill passed the Senate Tuesday with bipartisan support.

It will need approval from the state Assembly and a signature from Gov. Scott Walker before becoming law.

If the cookie bill continues to gain approval, it will make life easier for farmers, those looking to test out home-baked goods before starting a business or anyone hoping to make extra money by selling cookies or other baked goods at farmers’ markets or in community supported agriculture boxes.

Specifically, the bill would no longer require a commercial license or a commercial kitchen to be used if the sale of “nonhazardous” baked goods adds up to less than $10,000 a year.

A nonhazardous baked good is typically defined as those that don’t need to be refrigerated, like cookies, cake or brownies.

Wisconsin is the only state with cottage food legislation that doesn't allow the sale of baked goods. There are 25 states with legislation that exempts the sale of non-hazardous baked goods from needing a commercial license.

In a Cap Times story on the bill in September, Scott Karel, a government relations associate with the Wisconsin Farmers Union, said 32 states have cottage food laws that allow people to sell baked goods. Wisconsin is one of two states that does not.

“For farm families or rural families, this bill provides a way to make extra money while they are selling other products at a farmers' market,” said Karel. “It also lets people test the waters (for a baking business) without having a commercial kitchen or commercial license. The bill promotes small business growth.”

Besides the Wisconsin Farmers Union, the Tavern League of Wisconsin is also registered in favor of the bill.

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