Back in July I posted a topic where I wrote to my Maryland legislators asking them to legalize home kitchens. (http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-593628.html). Well, I heard back from Delegate Mary Ann Love, and she has agreed to bring this bill to committee! If you are a Maryland baker interested in legalzing home kitchens, we need your help. Delegat eLove would like to find other bakers to write letters to their delegates and to testify before committee supporting this bill.
I offered 4 reasons to Delegate Love as to why home kitchens should be legalized in Maryland: 1) fulfillment of supplier and consumer need; 2) increased regulation; 3) increased revenue with negligible cost; and 4) parity with neighboring states. (This is in my original post). Delegate Love has written back to me and stated that the Maryland Health Department has agreed to allow home bakers to sell at farmers markets, but that the Department has concern about allowing sales from private kitchens. I believe that from a health perspective there should be no difference between selling home baked goods from the house versus from the farmers market. The downside of the farmer's market is for people like me who make specialized desserts (wedding and special occasion cakes, for example, which need to be privately ordered and not sold in a market setting), stay at home parents who cannot get away during the day, or people who work during farmer market hours who would like to bake for some additional income. A quick review of local Craigslist ads or a Google search shows that many people already advertise home-baked cakes; I would like to give these people a chance to advertise and sell legally. Delegate Love has agreed to sponsor a bill with this aim.
I would love to hear from anyone who is willing to write a letter to their legislator (they can use mine as a template) or who is willing to testify before the legislative committee. People can also go to the following website to find their local legislators and petition them directly: http://mdelect.net/. Please feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions. Thanks!
Not being in Maryland, I can't really help but wishing you luck in changing the law for you! Keep us posted on your progress!
I am not in Maryland, but I just wanted to congratulate you and wish you luck. I only wish that one of us Texas letter-writers had gotten such a response from our legislators. What a wonderful opportunity, having your Delegate willing to bring a bill to committee. Best of luck, please keep us posted!
Hi all! Thanks so much for your support. I received some PMs and emails, and I really hope we get some good news. I just spoke to a fantastic legislative assistance in Delegate Love's office, and she is working on drafting the bill language right now.
Here's where we need some help: research. For example, for those states that Maryland borders (Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia) where home kitchens are legal, I'd like to know how many home bakers are licensed, how much tax revenue the state receives, how much expense the state spends (if there are kitchen inspections that are not paid by the home owners or if an additional state hire was needed, for example), and the specific licensing rules (to address some concerns noted by the Maryland Dept. of Agriculture), such as if the homes are considered retail outlets). Does anyone have friends in these states who have legal home kitchens and might have information? I will try to call the various departments, but any help is certainly appreciated!!!
Hi Jodie. You just answered a question that I have desperately been trying to find an answer to this question as I would like to start up a business out of my own kitchen. I would love to help as much as possible and will see what I can do with research and stuff to help out.
Does anyone know what does need to be done to start something up decorating cakes in Maryland? I've been researching and researching and I'm lost.
Hi Jodie, How Exciting!!!! I've been trying to do something like this for New Jersey but I didn't know where to start. How did you figure out what person to write to in the first place? I haven't gotten very far as you can see. Politics are not my strong point and I don't even know where to start.
Hi CrystalEyez. Delegates Love and Beidle are co-sponsoring a bill to legalize home kitchens in Maryland. If you go to the following website, you can find your local state delegates and write to them and ask that they support this bill (http://mdelect.net/). Currently it is not legal to sell from your home kitchen, but hopefully this bill passes! It is currently in the bill drafting stage. I'll keep you update as I find out about its progress.
Hi stephaniescakenj. I recommend you start by contacting your local state delegates. For NJ, here's the site: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/legsearch.asp. You should have a state senator and some assemblymen. If you look at my previous post, you can see an example of the letter I wrote to my delegates: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-593628.html. Customize a letter that fits your goals and send it to your representatives. Try to start a thread on Cake Central asking for other NJ home bakers who also want to write in. If you belong to a cake club or know of NJ cake clubs, contact them and ask for their support as well. I don't know if my campaign will be successful, but it feels exciting to be trying!
Jodie, thank you so much for the information. We do have a local cake club, I tried to round everyone up earlier but none of us knew where to start so it stalled but with this information, we'll definitely be picking it back up again.
Good Luck with getting your laws changed!
Jodie, I'm a Maryland baker and would love to be licensed at home. Let me know what I can do to help.
Hi julesn20716. The best thing you can do right now is to write to your state delegates (you should have a few delegates and one senator). You can find your delegates at http://mdelect.net/. Tell them that Delegates Love and Beidle are sponsoring a bill to legalize home kitchens and that you support the bill. Feel free to use my letter as a template (http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-593628.html), or create your own personal letter. Try to get your Maryland friends and family to write in, too--the more support the delegates see, the more likely they are to support the bill.
Once there is a date for the hearing on the bill, we'll certainly need a lot of support in Annapolis to testify. If that's something you could do, that would be great! I'll let you know more about that once a date has been set. But for now, contacting your delegates would be fantastic!
I will write to my delegates.
If you need people to testify, I live a city over from Annapolis, so let me know.
If anyone is computer saavy, there is a group of Texas bakers on this board who have done a fantastic job setting up a website that allows for a petition page, and they have gotten a ton of hits: http://www.texascottagefoodlaw.com I'd love to do something like this for Maryland, but I don't really know how to set up a website. Is this a project someone could take on? I think the publicity of it will really help our cause!
Jodiedew - Without having to register a domain or being computer savvy, you could start a blog on Blogspot (in fact that's what my DH is telling me I should have done).
Thanks kellym! What do you think of this: http://marylandhomekitchens.blogspot.com/ The only problem with the blog is that the newest post appears first, so my main message is at the bottom of the page. Do you think this is a problem? I've never created a blog before; thanks for the idea!
I know that with Word Press you are able to designate which posts remain at the top. You might be able to do that with Blogspot, I'm not sure as I have never worked with it before.
I have a friend who is interested in starting a box lunch type of thing out of his kitchen, so I have been keeping him up to date on all of this as well, since he is in full support and also lives in Maryland.
Thanks CrystalEyez. I just republished the blog posts so they would be in a better viewing format. Please pass the link around to your friend and to others in Maryland you know--we especially want people to contact their legislators and to sign the petition that I included in the blog! http://www.petitiononline.com/mdbake/petition.html
I think the blog looks great!
Great news! The bill to legalize home kitchens has been drafted. Here is the link, and I've pasted the wording below: http://mlis.state.md.us/2009rs/bills/hb/hb0728f.pdf
The bill is very simple, and hopefully that helps our case. The hearing date has not yet been set. I have been advised that each person testifying is allowed 3 minutes. Also, any handouts you wish the Committee to have must be to the Committee at least one hour prior to the hearing. Each copy must clearly state the bill number (HB 72. In addition, names of witnesses must be signed in prior to the hearing. Please let me know if you want to testify or can attend the hearing! The more of presence we have, the better we will do! (I've requested more info on what we should be saying during the testimony and what should be on the handouts, and I'll let you know when I find out).
HOUSE BILL 728
By: Delegates Love, Beidle, Dwyer, Kipke, and Schuh
Introduced and read first time: February 10, 2009
Assigned to: Health and Government Operations
A BILL ENTITLED
AN ACT concerning
Public Health Sale of Baked Goods Home Kitchens
FOR the purpose of authorizing a person to sell certain baked goods without a license to operate a food establishment under certain circumstances; requiring certain baked goods to have a certain label; and generally relating to the sale of baked goods made in a kitchen in a private home.
BY adding to
Article Health General
Annotated Code of Maryland
(2005 Replacement Volume and 2008 Supplement)
SECTION 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF
MARYLAND, That the Laws of Maryland read as follows:
Article Health General
A PERSON MAY SELL NONPOTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS BAKED GOODS MADE IN A KITCHEN IN A PRIVATE HOME WITHOUT A LICENSE TO OPERATE A FOOD ESTABLISHMENT, IF THE BAKED GOODS ARE:
(1) SOLD TO AN INDIVIDUAL FOR THE INDIVIDUALS OWN
CONSUMPTION AND NOT FOR RESALE; AND
(2) CLEARLY LABELED NOT FOR RESALE AND PROCESSED
AND PREPARED WITHOUT GOVERNMENT INSPECTION.
AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That this Act shall take effect
October 1, 2009.
This is great!! I am going to fax it off to my Texas Senator and Rep.
Congratulations to you!!!!
Wow, this is amazing. Thank you for all your hard work. I may be able to go to the hearing, it just depends on the day. I will do as much as I can
Power to the people!! Wonderful news for you. Keep us all posted!
Yes- if anyone knows anyone who lives in Maryland and could sign the petition that would be great!!!! Thanks again Jodie for taking this on!!! Fingers and toes crossed - please keep us updated of when the hearing would be so I can see if I would be able to attend!
I am in VA and am going through the process to get legal. You can call the VA Dept. of Health to get a packet that completely outlines the rules, regulations and steps to be a legal home bakery in VA. The number is 800 552-9963. As I recall, you have to ask for "Dairy and Foods". Specify that it is for a home based bakery. I don't know where my copy is right now and am a bit swamped, otherwise I could try to scan it. However, they will send a copy out right away. Hope that helps!
Good for you guys. I hope it works. Just be careful, Maryland enacting this bill doesn't mean it will be legal everywhere. In NY it depends on what county you live in. Some counties allow it and others don't even though the state does. Good luck.
Congrats to you on making such great progress in getting your home kitchens licensed in MD! I really hope your bill passes for all of you!
Unfortunately, I live in the most corrupt state in America right now, so I know we wouldn't be able to get something like this to go through! LOL.
Hi all! Thanks for your support. For those who are interested in testifying, I got some more information:
"Witnesses (to simplify) those people who testify for or against a bill. Handouts perhaps put together a packet (keep it simple bullets) that would promote why you want the bill. If you have someone who has made a success of this business, you may want to include a statement showing why the bill would work. Big thing why it would be good for the State of Maryland to have such a law. You would need 40 packets (copies) clearly marked with the bill number and they must be to the Committee at the latest one hour before the hearing. (we can revisit this again once you know whether you will have packets and what they will be.) With regard to who should testify (3 minutes at the most) Delegate Love will open up with a brief statement you could go next stressing the importance of such a bill and perhaps a few other people pushing home the point. You and whoever testifies will have to sign up the day of the hearing and again I will help you with that at that point. If you have other supporters you may want to have them come and sit in the committee room as a presence. The big thing too now that you have a bill number anybody who wants this law should contact their delegates and voice their support. E-mail is a good way to go as well as letter. Should an individual not be sure who their representatives are they can call their local election board." The bill number is HB 728 if you want to tell your delegates!
I will definitely try to make it to the hearing. I just signed the petition (hopefully not too late- I just saw the post yesterday!)
Is it too late to contact our delegates?
I'm so excited by this possibility!
It'ss definitely not too late to contact your delegates. In fact, right now is the BEST time to contact them because we now have a bill number: HB 728. Please contact your delegates and tell them to support HB 728 (and have your family, friends, and neighbors do the same)! I just sent emails to all my Maryland friends and family giving them the names and emails of their state delegates, along with an email they can copy and paste. The more our delegates hear about how much we support legalizing home kitchens, the better chance we have!
Once I get the date for the hearing, I'll be sure to let you know!
Jodie - which email did you have them send? That's a great idea to give them the email all ready to go and all they have to do is forward it....