By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
UPDATED JUNE 12, 2019
Texas lemonade stand law applies to homeowners’ associations, too
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” It’s a familiar adage parents and grandparents use to teach children to make the best of a bad situation.
So why not whip up a batch of lemonade, and sell some to the neighbors?
No can do? You say your City government and your HOA won’t allow it?
Well, here’s a bit of good news. As of today, Texas Legislature passed a new bill (HB 234) giving youngsters under the age of 18 the freedom to set up an occasional neighborhood lemonade stand.
Better yet, once the Governor signs the bill, the kids can finally sell cold non-alcoholic beverages without any interference from their local government or homeowners association.
Now that’s sweet!
Why did Texas need a lemonade stand bill?
HB 234 was filed last November by Representative Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth), after a constituent in his District contacted him about the city shutting down her 8-year-old son’s lemonade stand.
It turns out that several Texas municipalities and health departments had outlawed food and beverage stands.
Other local laws made it illegal for a child to sell lemonade or similar beverages without a license or permit.
Imagine having to pay a fee just to sell lemonade on the corner for a few hours. This is the unfortunate reality in too many towns across America.
It’s over-regulation on steroids.
Why would we want to discourage kids from learning how to work for themselves and earn a little spending money?
Support for lemonade stands
Not surprisingly, when Krause introduced HB 234, fellow Legislators offered their enthusiastic support. Several people testified in favor of the bill.
Hands down, 8-year-old lemonade entrepreneur, Branson Burton, was the highlight of a public hearing in front of the Committee on State Affairs. (You must see the video below).
Branson eloquently explained how selling lemonade taught him some basic lessons in starting a business: setting a budget, marketing, interacting with customers, and making money — half of which he donated to charity.
The bill soon gained unanimous approval of the House, and moved onto the Senate.
House strikes HOA-amendments made in Senate
Readers of this website won’t be surprised to learn that some HOA-industry operatives convinced Texas Senators to amend HB 234.
Basically, the Senate version of the bill allowed HOAs to restrict lemonade stands to children who reside in the community under their rule.
It was a typical HOA-industry maneuver — add a provision to neutralize the intent of any law that protects the rights of homeowners and residents of association-governed communities.
Over-regulation is the knee-jerk reaction of certain small-minded control freaks, who fear and loathe “outsiders” who don’t live in their little HOA bubble.
After the Senate approved the bill, as amended, House Rep. Gene Wu (D-Houston) objected. He called a conference committee to remove the onerous HOA restrictions.
The conference committee ultimately added the following language to Texas Property Code:
Sec. 202.020. CERTAIN SALES OF BEVERAGES BY CHILDREN. (a) A property owners’ association of a residential subdivision may not adopt or enforce a restrictive covenant that prohibits or regulates, including by requiring a permit or fee, the occasional sale of lemonade or other nonalcoholic beverages from a stand on property located in the subdivision by an individual younger than 18 years of age who has the permission of a property owner in the subdivision for the sale.
(b)A property owners ’ association:
(1)does not owe a duty of care to persons participating in a beverage sale described by Subsection (a); and
(2)is not liable for any injury to persons participating in a beverage sale described by Subsection (a), except for wilful or wanton acts or gross negligence of the association.
Gov. Greg Abbott officially signed HB 234 on June 10, 2019. On his Twitter account, Abbott calls this new Act “relating to the local regulation of the sale of lemonade or other beverages by children” a “common sense law.”
It’s now legal for kids to sell lemonade at stands.
We had to pass a law because police shut down a kid’s lemonade stand.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) June 11, 2019
Lemonade stands in HOAs
The bill now requires anyone under the age of 18 to get permission from the property owner before setting up a beverage stand. Technically, this means that the HOA can still prohibit a lemonade stand in the common areas.
And I fully expect some killjoy HOAs will say “no” to lemonade or iced tea sales in the community park.
Plus, you can’t help but notice the part of HB 234 that guarantees that an HOA can’t be held responsible if someone is harmed by drinking home-prepared lemonade.
Folks, you’ve been warned: enjoy your cool, refreshing summer beverage at your own risk! And don’t blame your HOA if the lemons are just a bit too tart.
Now that HB 234 is official, a Texas HOA cannot stop kids from setting up shop on private property, as long as they have the blessings of their parents or neighbors.
It’s another small step toward de-regulation of America, in the name of letting kids be kids.
Let’s hope this is just the beginning of a much larger trend to restore rights and freedoms in towns, cities and HOA-villes all across the U.S. ♦
Texas Senate unanimously passes ‘Save Our Lemonade Stands Bill’
Now as long as kids have permission from the property owner where their stand is set up, they can sell lemonade.
Author: Britny Eubank, KVUE
Published: 5:16 PM CDT May 26, 2019
Updated: 5:56 PM CDT May 26, 2019
Herman: Kid’s biz prowess wows Texas lawmakers
By Ken Herman, Statesman | Posted Feb 28, 2019 at 12:13 PM Updated Feb 28, 2019 at 6:49 PM
WATCH: 8-year-old Branson Burton of Austin explains to lawmakers why he supports HB 234.
Read HB 234