Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tell Jerry Brown California Needs a Cottage Food Act

AB1616 - The California Homemade Food Act - needs your help today!  

This bill is expected to go to Governor Jerry Brown this month for his signature.  Although it seems to be doing well, there is still considerable opposition to AB1616 from the county health directors and from the California Department of Public Health.  (Did you know that bake sales are actually illegal in the State of California? AB1616 will fix this but only if Jerry Brown hears from YOU.)

So... As activists, including our very own CSA bread baker, Mark Stambler (pictured here), continue to work with county officials to try and incorporate some of their changes to the bill without sacrificing its intent, it's critical that the governor hears from YOU.

AB1616 needs one last effort on behalf of home bakers throughout the state. Now is the time to write to Governor Jerry Brown to urge him to sign the bill when it lands on his desk later this month.
Phone calls and emails won't have an effectIt has to be a letter on a piece of paper, mailed to the following address:
Governor Jerry Brown
Attn: Legislative Affairs Unit
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

 What follows is the letter that Mark Stambler mailed to Governor Jerry Brown today. Please feel free to be inspired by it as you write your own letter. Of course, it may be counterproductive if all letters are identical.
    "On behalf of the 400 members of the Los Angeles Bread Bakers and the thousands of home bakers across California, I strongly urge you to sign AB1616, The California Homemade Food Act, when it arrives on your desk later this month.
For the better part of a year, the Los Angeles Bread Bakers have been working with home-based food makers from both Northern and Southern California to craft and pass legislation that will permit the sale of not potentially hazardous homemade foods in California.
The bill that is currently making its way through the California legislature is patterned on “cottage food laws” that have been enacted in more than 30 states and that have not resulted in a single case of food-borne illness.
While many of these states have had such laws on the books for decades, it is still illegal to sell any homemade food in California. We feel that a change is long overdue.
There are enough safeguards in AB1616 to ensure that Californians’ health will not be jeopardized by its implementation.
At the same time, we feel that its economic benefits to California and Californians will more than offset any costs that would be incurred in enforcing it.
The law will create a new kind of micro-entrepreneur in California. For the first time, we California home bakers will be able to sell our homemade bread and other baked goods legally in California. Once our very small businesses start to grow, we will look forward to the opportunity to pay our fair share of taxes on them to the state.
We believe that AB1616 is an example of sensible regulation replacing an unwarranted prohibition.
It is a well-thought-out piece of legislation that not only promotes the “eat local” spirit, a spirit that was born in California, by enabling the introduction of a whole range of small-production, locally produced, high quality foods from California’s communities. It also will result in economic benefit for people in all parts of the state, particularly those who are struggling to find additional sources of income to help their families during these tough times.
Again, please sign AB1616 to help usher in a new era of community-based food production that can address a number of challenges that we face as a state."

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