Food News

Bill Expanding Home-Made Foods Sales Stalled in House Committee

Two years ago we tracked the progress of cupcakes through the Texas Legislature, or more specifically, a bill that allowed home bakers to legally sell their goods under certain provisions. That bill passed and now there are many happy home bakers and full bellies around the state.

But, equal rights for all cupcakes never rests, nor should it. This session another piece of legislation, House Bill 970, expands on many of those same issues and helps tidy up a few loose ends.

See also: Bake Sale Bandits

Specifically, it will allow bakers to sell not only at their doorsteps, but also farmers markets, fairs, festivals and different events. Plus, bakers will be able to deliver their goods to different places (imagine fresh baked cupcakes to your door). The bill would also broaden "cottage foods" to include nuts, unroasted nut butters, fruit bitters, fruit pies, popcorn, pickles and other things.

So, the bill got out of House Public Health Committee, which is always a good sign. But, now it's stuck in an ominous place called "Calendars," which was completely omitted from that School House Rock song, "I'm Just a Bill."

Calendars might be a place where good ideas (and bad ones too) go to die. We're not sure because they won't answer their phones and no one speaks much about Calendars. But, if you have a bill that gets out of committee, the people there put it on the calendar to be debated on the House floor. Evidently they are backlogged with hundreds of bills right now. And while the legislative session ends on May 27, the last daily calendar is set on May 7. So, if it doesn't get on the books by then it's "try again next session."

I called the office of Representative Eddie Rodriguez for a comment about Calendars and they confirmed there is a backlog, but outside of that, all they would (cautiously) say is "it's up to the discretion of the chair."

The raw milk bill is hung up in calendars too.

If you have strong feelings one way or the other on either of these issues, the best thing to do is call your representative. As always the Facebook page Texas Baker's Bill has great coverage on the issue.

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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.