NJ kids finally free to sell lemonade and mow lawns (Opinion)
Thank God for a little common sense. That’s a.k.a. thank God for state Sen. Michael Doherty.
He’s a Republican lawmaker from Warren County who has seen too many towns destroying childhood by shutting down innocent lemonade stands operated by elementary school kids. As oppressive as New Jersey government can be, this has actually happened in many places across the country.
No more. Not in New Jersey.
The bill he sponsored and that was signed into law by Gov. Murphy basically says children are free to do what kids have always done unencumbered by local officials.
He’s the same guy who sponsored the “Right to Shovel” law enacted in 2016 after he heard about two teenagers being harassed by cops in their town. They were told during a snowstorm they could not go door to door asking if anyone wanted them to shovel out driveways for a few bucks.
The new law expands that to any child-operated business to protect them from towns requiring permits.
“Nobody is getting sick because a 6-year-old’s lemonade stand didn’t get a health inspection, and professional vendors aren’t being driven out of business by the $5 a child might collect from supportive neighbors,” Doherty points out.
“Unfortunately, those are the exact excuses towns have used to put the smack down on entrepreneurial kids from coast to coast," said Doherty. “It’s absolute nonsense that should never have been tolerated in New Jersey and I’m pleased that Gov. Murphy agrees.”
This teaches kids things. It helps them understand money a bit more. And effort and reward. It gets them over social awkwardness in some cases. Any town that ever treated a lemonade stand with a heavy hand was just a matter of a solution looking for a problem.
When I was a kid I used to take my old toys that I didn’t want anymore and put them up as prizes. Then I’d come up with different games of skill or chance, and I’d organize a carnival on my front lawn. I remember tearing apart an old, tattered Life game board to get the spinning wheel out and made what amounted to a boardwalk wheel of chance out of it. A nickel a play.
I also did the cliched lemonade stand. But also once tried an ice cream stand. I even constructed a haunted house out of my backyard and basement one Halloween and charged admission.
I always made money. It kept kids like me busy and fed our imaginations. I cannot imagine how it would have felt to have the township send a police car over to tell me at 7 years old to knock it off. I would have been more than crushed. I would have not fully understood and would have felt unnecessary guilt.
Good for Sen. Doherty. But kids, pssst, still charge him if he stops by for a cold lemonade!
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.