Patrick Buzbee of the Montgomery County Health Department compares the cottage food law to "the return of the common drinking cup".
2009 Hearing: Part 6
2009 Hearing: Part 7
2009 Hearing: Part 8 - Worst. Visual. Display. Ever.
2009 Hearing: Conclusion (Part 9)
Closing the hearing, Representative Dan Gattis proposes a new law to outlaw cooking and eating food at home.
After a month of inaction, Representative Gattis needles Representative Kolkhorst on the House floor on April 23, 2009.
HB 3282 is unanimously voted out of committee on April 28, 2009.
Sadly, this was the end of the road for HB 3282. It was placed on the General Calendar and died with hundreds of others because it was not read before the deadline of May 14, 2009.
In 2011, with thousands of supporters, positive media attention, and the momentum of two filed bills (HB 1139 by Rodriguez and HB 2084 by Kolkhorst), the Cottage Foods public hearing on April 20, 2011 took on a markedly different tone from the 2009 hearing.
It's important to remember while watching this hearing that the hearing had begun at 8 a.m. that morning, and then recessed at 10 a.m. while the members went to the House floor. The floor session did not conclude until about 7 p.m. Then those of us who had waited all day at the Capitol went back to the hearing room and sat through 4 hours of testimony on other bills, including an hour on the controversial raw milk bill. It was 11 p.m. before the Cottage Food bill was heard. You can hear the cracking voices of some of the members and sense the almost giddy atmosphere in the room. While the Cottage Foods portion of the hearing only took an hour, the committee was there hearing bills until 5:15 the next morning.
2011 Hearing: Part 1
2011 Hearing: Part 2
2011 Hearing: Part 3
2011 Hearing: Part 4
2011 Hearing: Part 5
Watch as Chairwoman Kolkhorst goes "Garnet Coleman" on the Harris County Health Department representative and announces her intention to pass the bill. Little did we know how serious she was!
HB 2084 was voted out of committee and placed on the Local & Consent Calendar, but died without being placed on the calendar, reportedly due to objections from the Harris County delegation.
All hope appeared lost, but there was much going on behind the scenes as the legislative session drew to a close. Chairwoman Kolkhorst attached the Cottage Foods language from HB 2084 as an amendment to SB 81.
May 25, 2011: Moments before the third reading of SB 81, which the previous day had been amended to include Cottage Foods, the lobbyist for the Harris County Health Department handed Chairwoman Kolkhorst an amendment that they said she must accept, or they would work to kill the bill. The Chairwoman noted the two changes that appeared major - the addition of labeling and of no internet sales. In the hustle and bustle, she did not immediately notice that HCHD had also struck the words "or a Farmer's Market" from the bill.
Senator Jane Nelson ultimately concurred with the amendments to SB 81, and the Senate unanimously voted the bill through to Governor Perry, who signed it into law on June 17, 2011.
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