Topic

Economic Justice

2,887 petitions

Update posted 12 hours ago

Petition to Sports Leagues, Sports Industry and Government Regulators

"Scut Farkus" from A Christmas Story to Amend Constitution and Stop Sports Bullies

SportsVote – General What is The Sports Vote? The Sports Vote is a social movement enabling all responsible sports markets to grow and flourish creating a brand new ecosystem called the new sports economy. A sports market? You mean gambling? No, on the contrary and that's our little secret: Sports and money can mix in socially beneficial ways. How so? For as long as anyone can remember, sports betting was the only combination of sports and money man has ever known and we all know now how that worked out. Recently, a new blend, daily fantasy sports has become popular. It’s hard to get out of the mindset that mixing sports and money always brings disaster because it always has. Daily Fantasy Sports ("DFS") & Sports Betting Do you think daily fantasy sports is gambling? Absolutely. Why? Isn’t it a game of skill? It probably is but that doesn’t matter. The skill argument works when you look at games like chess, or the sports games themselves. Daily fantasy sports is often called a game but it is not a game. What is it then? A market. How do you distinguish between games and markets? Simple. Games are self-contained. Markets are based on information provided by real world events. Ask yourself this: “Can we play this on Mars?” If yes, it is a game. Otherwise, it is a market no matter what you call it. You can play chess on Mars if you have two people and a chessboard. You can play football once you have 22 people and a ball. But, you can’t play fantasy football because you need to have ready access to the game stats. Can something be a market and not gambling? Of course. The stock market is an example. But some people say the stock market is the biggest casino. You can be reckless and gamble in any market, yes. But, that doesn’t make the overall market gambling. Why is it not gambling? It serves a purpose – For example: companies can raise money, prices provide valuable information and investors can have a long-term asset tucked away in their portfolios. What about other markets that are not gambling? Derivatives markets would be another example. Derivatives markets look like gambling sometimes. Again, you can be reckless and gamble there, too. But the overall market is regulated by the federal government for a reason. Similar to the stock market, you have price information that is beneficial to various stakeholders. In addition, derivatives markets offer risk management opportunities. Why is sports betting gambling? It’s an entertainment vehicle that doesn’t serve a purpose. You don’t really have prices to begin with (odds don’t count), so naturally there is no price information provided to the industry. Nobody is raising any capital, or managing risks. It’s not an asset you can tuck away in your portfolio. Sometimes bookmakers use other bookies to lay off risk. Is that not risk management? Good try, but no. That risk is not one that the sports industry naturally faces, it’s artificially created by the gambling itself in the first place. Why is daily fantasy sports gambling? Same reason. You don’t have prices. No raising capital or risk management. There is no purpose whatsoever, other than the sheer entertainment experienced by its participants. But players have prices… Yes, but only for one day. That’s not the type of price action that provides valuable information to the marketplace. So there are markets that are not gambling and there are markets that ARE gambling? Correct. Stock markets and derivatives markets, no matter how they may seem sometimes, are not gambling. Sports betting and daily fantasy are gambling. There are games that are not gambling and there are games that ARE gambling? Yes, chess is not gambling. Roulette is gambling. Poker is somewhere in the middle. For a game, skill matters. More skill means you are getting further away from gambling? Yes. For a market, skill does not matter in determining whether it is gambling or not? No, it doesn't. Since markets are based on real-world information, there will always be an opportunity for the skilled person to process that information better than others and potentially make money. If skill does not determine whether a market is gambling or not, what does? We should take a holistic approach and look at the overall purpose and social benefit the market provides. Why is daily fantasy hiding behind the skill argument? That’s the tiny thread holding their entire legal claim together. Making it look like a game and focusing on the skill argument allows them to be compliant with most state laws, but it doesn’t matter. It is gambling and everyone is quickly seeing through that nonsense. What about fan engagement? It is true that daily fantasy makes you watch more sports, but it also negatively impacts the way in which you watch those sports. You are not rooting for your team anymore. There is no loyalty. You are rooting for certain players – the ones drafted onto your fantasy team – even if they score against your favorite team. Sports betting does the same, instead of rooting for a win, you root for the spread. Put this altogether and it creates conflicted fans. We long for the old times when our parents took us to the ballpark and we were loyal only to our teams. Losing that pure, uncalculated loyalty is losing an important fabric of our society. Protecting Integrity Besides not having a social purpose and creating fan conflict, why is sports betting so destructive to society? Because it undermines the integrity of sports. Game fixing. Point shaving. Gamblers stalking college kids. You name it. Why is this happening? It’s all about incentives. If you can triple your money overnight, it becomes way too easy to risk a lot of capital and promise to share some of those proceeds with an athlete, referee or somebody else while asking him/her to influence the outcome in return. Big payments based on game outcomes make people do bad things, don’t they? Yes, and we hate that. Purity of sports is not to be messed with. That won’t happen in responsible sports markets. Can responsible sports markets deliver payments on game-based outcomes? They could. This is another big misconception. Having payments on outcomes, per se, is not the issue. People freak out when they hear game outcomes and money in the same sentence, but that’s simply because they are hard-wired to think about all-or-nothing bets in a single game context. Are all-or-nothing propositions always gambling? While this sounds reasonable at first, the answer is no. It is true that gambling is generally associated with all-or-nothing propositions, but some contracts in the financial markets are also all-or-nothing, e.g. some option contracts. The difference? A sports bet provides no purpose. A financial contract on the other hand, provides price information and an opportunity for risk management. But you can lose your shirt with an option contract… Like a sports bet, the financial contract can be used for speculative purposes and the outcome could be dangerous. However, unlike a sports bet, when those speculative activities are combined under the umbrella of a regulated marketplace, they improve the price information as well as the risk management opportunities. A healthy dose of speculation is actually healthy for the markets, provided that the marketplace turns it into something useful. And if something is not all-or-nothing, does that mean it is not gambling? The answer is, again, no. Here is an example. Take a $25 contest in your favorite DFS site and change the payouts. Instead of giving a jackpot prize to the top finisher, let him/her win $1,000. Similarly, adjust the prizes on the lower end so even the last-place finisher gets, say, $5. Now, this is not an all-or-nothing structure, since all participants are guaranteed something no matter what. However, other than the prize structure, you have not fundamentally changed anything. There is still no purpose. Therefore, it is still gambling. So all-or-nothing is not determinative whether something is gambling or not. Correct. Once you identified you have a market, and not a game, the only thing that matters is purpose. Look closer if you see all-or-nothing propositions, but don’t base your decision on something that can be tweaked with a few keystrokes. Purpose, on the other hand, cannot be faked. Sports betting is gambling and undermines the integrity of sports? Yes. This is precisely why sports betting is even worse than casino gambling. Not only do you have all the problems and agony that comes from gambling, but it also threatens the integrity of sports. Does it matter whether it’s a bet on a single game or something else, say end-of-season placement? Either way it’s gambling. Single-game bets are the worst for integrity and unfortunately, that’s where the majority of the action is. Longer-term bets are still problematic, because eventually there will be one game or two that will impact how the bet will pay out and you have integrity issues. What about daily fantasy sports? It’s all-or-nothing and it’s based on single games. It is based not on game outcomes but on player statistics. While the integrity issue may not be as drastic as sports betting because of that, it still is a big threat because information is valuable and some people will misbehave to gain an edge if there is a lot of money at stake riding on a single game. Stalking college kids may still turn to useful information for the fantasy line-ups. A referee can potentially call a game a little bit differently. Obviously, DFS is still gambling. It’s worse than casino gambling, and only marginally better than sports betting. Going back to game-based payments…How does that protect integrity? Game-based payments, if they exist, can be set up in way so they are a very small percentage of your capital at risk. There is simply no incentive to fix a game, shave points or misbehave to get an information edge. If the incentive is there, people will find a way to cheat and even the best monitoring systems will not work. We are a big fan of setting up the incentives correctly up front as opposed to punishing people after the harm is done. What SportsVote is striving for is to identify socially beneficial sports markets AND make sure integrity is preserved. The New Sports Economy Changing gears here. If we create responsible stock markets, what would be the effect on the economy? Beyond huge. Why is that? “Financial news may have great human interest potential to the extent that it deals with the making or breaking of fortunes. And the financial media can present their perennial lead, the market’s performance, as an ongoing story—one that brings in the most loyal repeat customers. The only other regular generator of news on a comparable scale is sporting events. It is no accident that financial news and sports news together account for roughly half of the editorial content of many newspapers today” Irrational Exuberance, by Robert Shiller, Winner of 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics Not every day you find two potent forces, sports and money, coming together like that. But that mixture is explosive. Which is precisely our point. The world has seen the dark side of that combination so far, and it will get even worse if daily fantasy continues to expand and sports betting gets legalized. But the mixture can do wonders for our economy and society if managed right. With great power comes great responsibility. What does the new sports economy look like? For the sports industry: new revenue channels for the leagues, regulated sports trading and increased fan engagement. For everyone else: A brand new ecosystem, job creation, growth, tax revenues and much more. The beauty is that none of that comes at the expense of integrity or welfare of the sports community. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. When you say new revenue channels for the leagues…? We believe in sharing. Every responsible sports market can decide what works for them, but we believe the leagues deserve more than the indirect benefit of fan engagement. We feel what works best is the old-fashioned partnership: 50-50 revenue sharing. You propose to give away 50% of the revenue to the leagues? For any sports markets we bring to life, yes. Without them, we wouldn’t exist and it is the right thing to do. As well, their participation will make the market much larger. Does a sports market help me understand finance better? Yes. We believe that sports is the best way to teach finance and view this as a paradigm shift in financial education. People will be drawn to their passions and it’s much easier to learn finance and start making better decisions if your entry point is sports. The financial literacy/education piece is a big part of what we do and why we are excited about responsible and socially beneficial sports markets. Concluding Thoughts The combination of sports and money can do all this? We are believers in capitalism but in a much gentler, more humane form. Sports and money are a powerful combination and if set up wisely, it will take us to new heights. It is unfortunate that it has not always been this way, so we need to erase certain prejudices that formed over centuries and demonstrate to everyone that sports and money do not always equal gambling. What does the Sports Integrity Protection Amendment (SIPA) do? It’s the first stop for The Sports Vote. When it gathers enough signatures in California, it will go in front of the voters in the November 2016 general election. When it passes, sports trading will become a constitutional right! From there, the legislature will write the laws and fill in the details to make sure everything comes together properly. What is next for The Sports Vote? We will not rest until the concept becomes a reality and legalized sports betting is stopped in its tracks. Finally… what if I'm not in California? That's alright. You can be in California or The Congo and still sign this online petition and share with your friends. That way we'll keep you up to date on our progress and the more support we have, the better. We'll get to your home town even faster with your help!  9 Reasons Why You Should VOTE FOR SPORTS: 1. You are a sports fan. 2. You think sports can play an even bigger and a more central role in your life. 3. You think socially beneficial combinations of sports and money can exist. 4. You think rooting for your team is much better than rooting for the spread or certain players. 5. You like the concept of responsible sports markets. 6. You want to protect the integrity of sports. 7. You want more jobs, better jobs and growth. 8. You believe in sharing and caring. 9. You believe in good education, financial literacy and empowerment.   To a better world! Zack Ward The Sports Vote Ambassador & "Scut Farkus" from A Christmas Story   P.S. You can read the full text of the Sports Integrity Protection Amendment (SIPA) in California here: http://tinyurl.com/sipaamended and see it online here: https://www.oag.ca.gov/initiatives/active-measures (#15-0082). The detailed summary as provided to the California government is here: http://tinyurl.com/sipasummary

The New Sports Economy
803 supporters
Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Dan Patrick, Greg Abbott, Lois Kolkhorst, Joe Pickett, James Morris, James Bass, Tryon D. Lewis, Jeff Austin III, J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., Laura Ryan, Victor Vandergriff

END TOLL ROAD ABUSIVE PRACTICES

DONATE: https://www.gofundme.com/texastolllawsuit-com LEARN MORE: http://www.texastolllawsuit.com  GET INVOLVED:  https://www.facebook.com/texastollwayslawsuit/ This petition is the result of the backlash building for 20 years against Toll Roads in Texas. It's happened to you...HUGE FINES, FEES, PENALTIES, STACKS OF NOTICE LETTERS IN YOUR MAILBOX, LAWSUITS. You, you're a hard working person, not some Billy-The-Kid-like "outlaw" running the tolls on purpose yet you still end up taken to the bank! The entire situation leaves you feeling helpless and mad as hell! You are horrified to learn that a few dollars in Toll Road use fees have ballooned into hundreds or even THOUSANDS of dollars in fines and the toll authority won't work with you. You have likely even been sued, lost your ability to register your car or even been arrested. You probably never even saw the bill. You had moved or live out of state or fell victim to problems between the different tolling agencies across the state that fail to work together properly. Texas lawmakers created this mess - a convoluted system of agencies like a 5 headed snake. With more than 5 different agencies each billing you for use of different roads. Toll roads in Texas are operated virtually independently of government in Austin by private-public partnerships created through political wrangling by state legislators pushing private corporate interests - worst of all, they treat you like a criminal! True harm is coming to Texas citizens in the form of egregious fines , harassment, loss of driving privileges, an inability to register vehicles and an unwillingness to listen to every individual case regarding a claimed toll violation. This is a violation of your right to due process The ultimate tool to let the state know that we, the citizens of Texas no longer support Toll Roads is to petition for a referendum to hear our grievances. State lawmakers MUST agree to listen to our grievances and correct the problems through substantial legislative change to the operation and revenue collection of all Toll Roads in Texas.  If the State will not listen and act, We The People are prepared to file what may become the largest Class Action Lawsuit in Texas History and seek legal remuneration including injunctive, compensatory, special and incidental damages from the state. WE THE PEOPLE DEMAND: 1.  There should be one tolling agency statewide. 2.  All legal Loopholes must be closed to prevent abuse by the "private" for-profit law firms suing Texans in Unconstitutional Administrative Courts and unethically taking advantage of a system with little to no oversight. There exists a significant conflict of interest between The State, the Private Interests and your right to drive as a Taxpayer. A set of laws that CLEARLY define, limit and control Toll Roads must be established. 3.  The power to fine, sue and charge excessive fees must be severely limited. Failure to address this will result in litigation or replacement of YOU the Politician with someone sympathetic to the Will of The People. 4.  The creation of protections (A Bill of Rights) for Texans driving on ANY Toll roads allowed to continue to operate.. 5.  A Clear and concise operating charter for Toll Roads with a moral duty clause that makes it illegal to work and establish any Toll Project or operating guidelines that would bring economic harm against a Texas Citizen created by the system itself. Zero tolerance for Exploitation. 6.  Complete Transparency by all agencies, public and private involved in the toll roads OR - You may not "Play". 7.  The abolition of any and all future toll road projects. 8.  The 25% Gas Tax diversion to other programs must stop. 9.  The classification of a "toll" as a "Tax" by admission of the State in writing.   10.  The immediate development of a Gas Tax plan to pay for roads and "Sunset" (eliminate" toll roads within 5 years. 11. Administrative courts where the plaintiff (Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, is a private for-profit law firm is Unconstitutional under the 7th Amendment. This is very disturbing and must be abolished effective immediately OR a Federal Lawsuit will surface seeking repayment of ALL property seized in said courts. This is aviolation of Texans rights under the terms of the 7th Amendment to the US Constitution. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION http://money.cnn.com/interactive/pf/debt-collector/texas-politics/ . These are the people who your state sends you to to sue you! They are in business to make a profit. Administrative judges they use are often paid 2 to 3 times the normal pay for a judge at this level and the preponderance of the evidence agrees that citizens are found guilty in more than 95% of all cases. Most cases are won on technicality and the penalty does not match the crime making toll road fines a clear violation of the;  The 8th amendment of the constitution of the United States and the section 13 of the Texas State Constitution which bar the collection of excessive fines. The state of Texas has created legislation that allows it to outsource toll violations and assess unbelievably egregious fines against its' own citizens in a manner that is harmful to citizens. That harm is not chartered within the state constitution. All laws are to be chartered for the benefit of the people not against them. This situation was created when; Put simply, the system harms citizens financially and therefore violates the Texas Constitution and the United States Constitution. The State lawmakers, our employees, have created a system that prosecutes citizens for even accidental infractions on our toll roads that are prosecuted by private law firms, not the State of Texas additionally; The toll violation system clearly violates the Due Process Guarantee contained within the Texas Constitution, The state may have failed to meet its' evidentiary burden  by any citizen from a civil penalty and administrative reprocessing fees applied against a vehicle owner under the under the process authorized by law. More specifically this means that private citizens are being sued by someone other than the State of Texas for toll road violations. Many complain of never receiving notice which violates their right to due process. Once the charges are sent to the third party collection firm, they assess egregious fines and fees that harms citizens egregiously because the fines are more than 50 times the actual toll charges. This is far beyond anything allowed by consumer credit lawsuit. By its very nature, a private law firm has a conflict of interest in filing lawsuits on behalf of the State against private citizens in administrative courts. Furthermore, the private lawfirm Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP as well as other firms use "administrative Courts" to sue private Citizens which are essentially courts for hire by the lawfirm. And Linebarger in particular is a nasty one! http://money.cnn.com/interactive/pf/debt-collector/texas-politics/ . All Tolling authorities are required to operate under TXDOT but TXDOT does not have total control over the independent agencies that toll all of us and this lack of defined, well written legal rules allows too much leeway within each toll road agency to operate independently. Reciprocal agreements between agencies are completely inadequate to protect citizens, causing thousands of tax paying citizens to be sued, spend too much personal time dealing with toll issues and no clear means of resolving issues in a timely or easy manner. When someone using a different tolling agency has a tag malfunction, fines are assessed immediately and the burden of proof of innocence is pushed back onto the taxpayer citizen who must fight to have the fees removed, taking substantial time or concede and pay fines that are automatically assessed. This is insanity in the 21st century. Each agency has no way to look up the license plates of other agencies. They also do not attempt to re-bill 3 times as they do with their own customers. They will instead often waive some fees if you agree to get an account with that agency essentially bribing you to leave your old agency to reduce the fees easily. This is unacceptable. It may even violate the FTC Deceptive Trade and Practiced Act. It can cause harm to any company or agency or individual who travels as you cannot have two tags on your windshield or they will potentially both read. What is a citizen to do? They are to demand the State fix this issue. The issue is that the private parties operating the toll roads each want their money! Toll road revenue is being used to build new toll roads to collect even more fees from citizens of the State of Texas. Tolling should not be allowed to perpetuate itself by making loans to other tolling agencies to build more Toll Roads. As an example, HCTRA loaned $20 million dollars to another http://www.chron.com/news/transportation/article/Harris-County-OKs-20M-loan-for-MoCo-toll-road-5997311.php that it earned from fees on the Beltway 8 Toll Road in Houston! If the Beltway 8 project is paid for, per the advertisement on the bond sold to the residents of Harris County, the Beltway 8 Toll Road was to become Free once paid for!. Yes, it was supposed to be free once paid for. Harris County has NOT kept its word with the citizens of the City of Houston. This is treasonous and malicious intent to defraud. Beltway 8 is a cash cow for the City who continues to increase taxes. Harris County is making money hand over fist off of tolls yet they continue to raise property taxes...why? Because it is never enough and nobody is stopping them! Gas Taxes could lower toll road fees, pay off other debts or improve schools but instead it is being funneled to Toll us even more. Toll Roads are a form of Double Taxation. The State of Texas continues to abuse Gas Tax revenue by channeling it to non-road projects. This is a serious breech of the definition of the what the Gas Tax is for. We must stop the legislation in the State of Texas from earmarking Gas Tax money for special projects that have nothing to do with roads! Using a Gas Tax uniformly taxes all citizens for roads instead of an undue burden for those that live in a city. Texas gas tax has not changed in decades and remained steady at 20 cents per gallon - yet we have the 2nd largest state in the union and an enormous road system to maintain. Most other states are at 27 to 30 cents per gallon. So we are diverting Gas Taxes away from Roads. Representative Doug Miller introduced SB 1110 (in 2013), that heists property taxes (through appraisal increases) for transportation projects and expands the use of Transportation Reinvestment Zones (TRZ) from strictly FREEways to toll roads, rail, transit, and dedicated bike lanes. WE"RE DIVERTING GAS TAX AWAY FROM TOLL ROADS AND THIS GUY WANTS TO TAKE YOUR PROPERTY TAXES TO MAKE UP FOR THE TAX SHORTAGE ON ROADS - THAT ARE BEING TAKEN FROM GAS TAXES. ROBBING PETER TO PAY PAUL.  Harris County has commandeered our Freeway lanes for additional revenue which should be a crime. Toll Road fees are egregious. They are charging as much as $400 per month for a driver to travel to and from work downtown and back to Katy 5 days a week. That is more than the cost of a new Honda Accord per month! It is egregious. Toll road fines are an abomination. Current Legislation does not go far enough TXDOT, NTTRA, HCTRA, TXTAG the State of Texas ETC MUST give everyone a chance to voice their complaints and seek relief in the form of compensatory, injunction and punitive damages against all of the agencies, their law firms and private tolling companies. It is vital that you speak up and express your concerns to drive corrective action against one of the most corrupt and abusive institutions within the state by signing this petition. Another complaint observed is the "License Plate" issue where citizens buy new cars and have a hard time getting the actual metal plates after purchase. For example: Buying cars out of state. If your plate is not associated with your account within 30 days, you will be fined and sued under the current law. Fines are higher than allowed under Federal Credit laws that consumers are protected by. These federal laws include the Fair Debt Collections Act, Deceptive Trade and Practices Act and the FCRA or Fair Credit Reporting Act, as well as others. Texas also has strict debt collection practice laws but none of them adequately provide extension for protections for toll road operations. Unless we collectively stand firm and sue, they will continue to harm citizens and cause thousands of hours of lost productivity to corporations across the state dealing with the extreme incompetence, negligent and even hostile activities conducted against private citizens. Additionally most Texans do not recognize that Toll Roads are become more mainstream than tax-money paid construction projects. There is a serious issue with the growth of Toll Road construction even with the increased revenue from taxpayers and toll revenues. Toll Roads are getting first priority for construction in potential or needed growth areas instead of Tax funded projects because the state is not spending tax money on roads as they should! This means that the State is earning greater revenue by tolling your ability to drive instead of using the money they collect in your taxes to pay for construction and maintenance of roads. All together, these and other issues MUST be dealt with swiftly by WE THE PEOPLE before they get out of hand. What kind of world allows a free highway to install toll booths only for the overpasses and the rest stays free? Why is it that inter-agency cooperation does not protect your ability to drive without fear of penalty on other agency roads? Please take a moment to tell us what you have experienced AND to let us know how we can stop this together. Together we can greatly change the oversight and toll road authority ability to tax, charge and build toll roads and help keep driving free or reduce the cost of driving by strong legislation to keep the tolling authorities and legislators in check.

Texas Toll Road Class Action Lawsuit
42,354 supporters
Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to Kentucky State House, Kentucky State Senate, Danny Carroll, Gerald Watkins, Steven Rudy, Matt Bevin, Paul Hornback, Rand Paul

Why Are Grandma's Cookies Illegal In Kentucky?

Why are grandmas in Kentucky committing crimes when they sell cookies to neighbors? Because Kentucky's current cottage food law states that: "Kentucky law allows farmers to grow, harvest and process limited food products in their farm kitchens for sale at farmer’s markets, certified roadside stands and from the farm provided they grow the predominate agronomic ingredient." This means that unless grandma is a farmer, she is breaking the law selling her baked goods. My name is Jennifer Lopez and I am a mom raising 4 kids. I’m also a talented cake decorator. I started baking cakes in 2006 for my children’s birthdays. At the time, I lived in Missouri. By 2009, cake decorating had become something I really enjoyed. I found myself starting a business from my home and making cakes for clients. This was and still is completely legal in Missouri, in fact the laws are even better now than in 2009. I was able to start a career that I loved and have been passionate about ever since. I steadily built up a clientele, and worked hard at honing my skill set. I am going on 11 years now of being a cake decorator, or working with cake in some fashion. In 2013, I found myself faced with a huge dilemma. I had found out my husband of 11 years was cheating on me and as soon as I confronted him, he cleaned out our joint bank account leaving me and my children with nothing. I didn’t know what to do, but I did still have 2 checks I hadn’t cashed from selling cakes. I used that money to open myself a bank account. Because the laws in Missouri allow for home bakers to also sell at farmer’s markets, I took a gamble and went to Aldi to purchase cupcake ingredients. My kids and I then took them to the farmer’s market. I ended up selling $90 worth of cupcakes, and even had a customer order a cake because she liked my cupcakes so much. By the beginning of July of that year, God had sent me cake order after cake order. In just a few weeks I had over $1,000 in my bank account. Having this income took a lot of stress off my plate during this extremely stressful time. I was able to buy gas for my vehicle, food for my children, and start thinking about my new future as a single parent. I was faced with divorce, and I had no family or support system in Missouri, as all my family lives in Kentucky. After years of hard work and getting the word out, my cake business had just started to really take off. It was also the only real skill I had after staying home for 8 years to raise my children. I looked up Kentucky’s cottage food laws and found that I could in no way sell cakes like I had been, and that the laws were extremely restrictive. Kentucky is one of 3 of the most restrictive states in America. I was astounded to see that even California had better cottage food laws than Kentucky. I ultimately had to make the decision to move to where my support system was located. After moving to Kentucky, I tried to find a few ways to keep my cake business alive and to keep doing what I loved. I found a business with a vacant kitchen, but it needed thousands of dollars of work to even start, and on top of that they wanted $400 a month just for me to use the facility. This was not something I was able to even consider while being a newly single mother to 3 children. I would also have to start from scratch building up clients in a new town. I finally had to put cake decorating on the back burner and got a job to support my children. My friend of 33 years keeps our cake business alive in Missouri. Every now and then I get to make a cake for some fun reason and keep my skills active. If I could, I would be out promoting myself and working hard every day to make cakes for people in my area, but I am not allowed to do that. I can’t tell you how extremely frustrating it is to be skilled in an area and not even be allowed to start it up for fear of fines and legal drama. Even now, I am still not in any position to where I would be able to go open a storefront. What I do, which is custom cakes, would not keep the doors open without having to make other items or sell lunch, which is not something I’m interested in doing. As a renter, it is also not possible for me to turn my basement into an extra commercial kitchen or place a building in my backyard. There are so many large businesses that once started in homes or garages. A local Cross Fit started out of the owner’s garage. Super City Cross Fit, now River to River Fitness has 3 locations in Paducah, KY and Metropolis, IL. Microsoft and Apple were both started at home in garages. When starting out, it isn’t always smart or economical to open a storefront especially when the risks can be so high and you have a family to feed. If a home-based business fails, you turn your oven off and go back to life, you aren’t out thousand or hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s also a great way to even see if this is an area you would want to keep pursuing or are even good at, without having to invest a lot of money to get started. There are also extremely talented cake designers that started from or are still based out of their homes. Liz Marek is a perfect example of a home-based decorator who made it big in the world of cake. Artisan Cake Company is still based out of her home, and within the last year she was finally able to convert her garage into a kitchen space. Charm City Cakes owner, Duff Goldman better known as Ace of Cakes, started out of his small apartment. He would walk up and down sidewalks outside of bridal shows with a cake in hand to build his business. (Charm City Cakes) “Duff opened his cake business in his Baltimore apartment after leaving a personal chef job. "I called my dad, business guru extraordinaire, and asked, 'Hey, Dad, how do I start a cake business?' And he says, 'Get some business cards, get a website and sell some cakes!' Astounding, basic advice, but I followed it...I baked [cakes] in my rickety joke of a home oven and delivered [them] in my hatchback VW."”- 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Duff (FoodNetwork.com) I ended up quitting my position at a good job when I had a baby 2 years ago. I could no longer afford child care for 4 children, almost $800 a month. Baking custom cakes from home would benefit my family considerably. I could still help my husband out, who works 2 jobs, and would not have to give over half my paycheck to childcare expenses. We would love to buy our first home, but are not yet in a position to do so. Having that extra income, while saving money would also help us do that. My story is not unique. Some people start baking because physical limitations or childcare responsibilities make it difficult to work away from home. Some have been the victims of layoffs, scraping together gigs to get by. Others are retirees, looking to supplement their fixed income and stay active. Regardless of the reason, people across the country have realized that home baking allows them to use their talents to earn extra income. Home baking is the way to get started right away without having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on professional equipment and commercial kitchen space. It also makes sense for customers. Home bakers have the flexibility to make small batches of goods and cater to food allergies and dietary restrictions. People who live far from traditional bakeries can buy locally. Who doesn’t want the option of a home-baked treat on demand? The solution to Kentucky’s restrictive current cottage food law is a piece of cake. I and many bakers just like me, would like to legalize the limited sale of home-baked goods that do not require refrigeration—like cookies, cupcakes, custom cakes, and bread.  You can help me and home bakers across the Bluegrass State claim our slice of the American Dream and provide a better life for our families. Please sign this message to our lawmakers asking them to support a home bakers bill and let home-based entrepreneurs get to work serving delicious baked goods to our friends and neighbors. Learn more about our campaign at http://www.kentuckyhomebakers.com

Jennifer Lopez
1,555 supporters