By M.D. Kittle
[Madison, Wis...] - The latest version of Wisconsin's "Cookie Bill," legalizing the sale of home-baked goods, passed - again - in the Senate this week.
But thanks to a southwest Wisconsin judge, a free-market law firm and some very persistent "cookie ladies," small bakers of brownies, muffins and cookies no longer have to fear going to jail or paying big fines for selling their goods.
On Friday, Lafayette County Judge Duane Jorgenson signed an order finalizing his decision last month that declared unconstitutional the state's ban on the sale of homemade baked items.
The judge did so after the state Department of Agriculture Trade & Consumer Protection told a home baker she would not be protected under the court ruling, according to Erica Smith, attorney for the Institute for Justice, which represented three Wisconsin women in the case against the state.
Smith said the department told the woman that the ruling only applied to the three plaintiffs.
"We did a brief with the court, and the court just today signed an order putting an end to it," the attorney said.
"Wisconsin is a lot freer today than it was last month," she added.
Jorgenson ruled that anyone in the state can bake and sell without an artificial cap on sales, as long as the goods are not considered potentially hazardous. Cookies, cakes, breads, muffins fit the nonhazardous column.
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