Reviewing the lobbyist registry for the 2023 Session, I find 156 individuals signed up so far to hang around the Capitol this winter persuading our legislators to legislate in their 157 employers’ favor. (Yes, our 105 elected legislators are outnumbered.)
Among the lobbyists registered so far is Meagan Forbes, legislative counsel from the St. Paul office of the Institute for Justice, an Arlington, Virginia-based national civil liberties law firm. Of all the civil liberties in peril in South Dakota, Forbes indicates that her subject of legislation this Session will be “support of food freedom bill”.
There are no bills in the hopper yet, but the Institute for Justice cites 2020 House Bill 1125 as the most recent reform for food freedom in South Dakota. That bill, passed without no opposing committee testimony or vote, repealed the state’s ban on selling baked goods from home and the $5K cap on sales of homemade baked goods. 2022 House Bill 1322, which passed with similar unanimity, expanded that liberty to include “kuchen, sauces, pesto and baked goods that require refrigeration, including cheesecake and pies filled with cream or custard, as well as fermented foods.” 2022 HB 1322 also amended our food statutes to require home canners to complete food safety training every five years and require vendors of other home-processed foods to “maintain verification of each recipe from a third-party processing authority.” Those two bills helped South Dakota earn a B on the Institute for Justice’s March 2022 food freedom report card:
We beat Minnesota and Nebraska, which have measly Cs, but we lag behind A-states North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. The Institute for Justice notes that South Dakota still doesn’t allow “cottage food” sales of meat or low-acid canned goods, nor does it allow sales of homemade food by mail or to retailers.
The Institute for Justice’s most recent model food freedom bill calls for exempting homemade food vendors from “all licensing, permitting, inspection, packaging, and labeling laws of the state” but creates its own labeling requirements. It allows retailers and other third-party vendors to sell homemade foods but requires those goods be displayed in a separate store section or display case. The model bill also preëmpts any local regulation of homemade foods. So with Forbes coming to lobby for the IJ, we should watch for any or all of those provisions to pop up in a 2023 bill.