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Gov. Polis Signs Bill Allowing Kids to Operate Lemonade Stands in Colorado

U.S. News & World Report logo U.S. News & World Report 4/2/2019 Casey Leins
a young boy sitting on a bench: Lemonade stand. © (Getty Images/Hero Images) Lemonade stand.

Children in Colorado can run lemonade stands and other small businesses this summer without a business license, thanks to legislation signed by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis on Monday.

The bill prohibits local governments from requiring minors to get a business license to run small, "occasional" businesses, such as lemonade stands. The law defines "occasional basis" to mean the businesses doesn't operate more than 84 days a year.

Last year, three young boys in Denver were forced to shut down their lemonade stand, set up near an arts festival, after vendors complained that the children were taking away some of their customers.

According to Denver laws, the boys would have had to obtain a temporary vending permit.

"We don't go out of our way to enforce matters of this nature and in this instance, our actions were complaint driven," the Denver Police Department said in a Facebook post. "When officers receive a complaint, we have an obligation to act."

The stand, which was located across the street from the boys' home, was also set up next to a park, which also violated the city's codes, the Denver Post reported.

"I was very surprised and shocked that all this was necessary for a child's lemonade stand," the boys' mother, Jennifer Knowles, told the Post. She added that her children were planning to donate the money they collected to a child-advocacy ministry.

Denver officials quickly changed these permitting laws, and the new law signed Monday prevents other cities from requiring minors to obtain permits for similar, occasional businesses.

"Thrilled to sign the bipartisan Lemonade Stand Bill today that reduces regulations and cuts red tape, making it easier for young entrepreneurs to start their own businesses!" Polis tweeted.

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