DARLINGTON, Wis. - A Lafayette County judge ruled Wednesday in favor of bakers selling homemade goods in the state of Wisconsin.
Current law requires home bakers to obtain a license, which means they might need to use a commercial kitchen, submit to inspections and pay fees.
Three women, Dela Ends, Kriss Marion and Lisa Kivirist, filed a legal challenge saying the law is unconstitutional. They are represented by the nonprofit organization Institute of Justice.
Lafayette County Judge Duane Jorgenson ruled Wednesday in the bakers’ favor. The state requested a stay to appeal the decision, but that was denied.
“I don’t see that there is a rational basis for the statutory scheme and I frankly don’t see any evidence of any real risk of harm to the public in general,” Jorgenson said.
The state has until June 23 to file an appeal, and if it does, Jorgenson said he is not inclined to grant a stay during the appeal process, which means the women would be able to sell their baked goods during the appeal proceedings.
“He put a lot of thought to our issue, and the fact that we have been hitting barriers for a long time trying to bake out of our home kitchens, it’s a victory for those of us in kitchens throughout Wisconsin,” Kivirist said.
Wisconsin already allows the sale of other homemade foods, including maple syrup, jams, pickles and other canned goods, as well as raw apple cider.
Wisconsin and New Jersey are the only states that ban people from selling items baked at home.
Department of Justice spokesman Johnny Koremenos said the state is considering an appeal.
There’s a bill being circulated again the state Senate to allow limited sale of baked goods without a license. Similar bills have passed in the Senate in the last two sessions, but each time it died in the house because of opposition from Speak Robin Vos, who has said lifting a ban would come at the expense of small businesses who have already taken extra measures to make sure they meet those standards and regulations.
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