Free Market

Herriman Trains Staff After Violation of State Law

Just before Christmas, Herriman resident Mark Ackerman took his children to the local recreation center to sell hot chocolate to fellow community members walking around in the cold.

City staff shut them down.

This is a violation of state law. Three years ago, at our recommendation, and with a bill sponsored by Senator Jake Anderegg, the Utah Legislature passed the country’s first comprehensive “lemonade stand law” that simply says:

(7) A municipality may not:
(a) require a license or permit for a business that is operated:
(i) only occasionally; and
(ii) by an individual who is under 18 years of age

Senate Bill 81, 2017 General Session

In plain language, this means that city officials, law enforcement, etc. many not shut down a minor’s occasional business—lemonade stand, babysitting service, or, yes, spontaneous hot cocoa stand mere hours before Christmas.

After the event we reached out to Herriman’s city manager and city attorney for a response. Yesterday they told us that they sent a memo to city staff informing them of how to comply with the law. The memo makes clear that it is “not a criticism” of the hot cocoa incident or how city officials acted (despite the fact that they broke the law) “but is for future direction.”

The memo clearly and correctly states that “a license or permit is not required for a business that operates occasionally by an individual who is under 18 years of age. This also means that such activity is legal and cannot be prohibited.”

It then goes on to share a few examples with city staff to illustrate. Here’s one:

You are the Manager assigned to a Fort Herriman Towne Days event and you observe a young boy who appears to be about 12 years of age selling Popsicles near the food trucks. You review the operations and determine that the 12 year old boy is operating the business and he is operating in a safe location. The operation cannot be prohibited.

It’s quite clear, then, that city staff were wrong to shut down the Ackerman hot cocoa stand. No apology has been given to the Ackerman family, nor has a public acknowledgment been made of wrongdoing. It appears that those involved have not been reprimanded or held accountable in any way for violating state law. Educating city staff for the future, at a minimum, is certainly important to ensure this does not happen again.