The Iowa House has passed a bill that would nullify many city and county ordinances that critics say prevent Iowans from having successful home based businesses.
Representative Skyler Wheeler of Orange City, a Republican, said Iowans should be able to operate a business out of their home if they aren’t disturbing neighbors.
“Home based businesses empower entrepreneurs to start businesses from their homes, earn and save money, maintain a flexible schedule and realize their dreams of self-employment,” Wheeler said. “Unfortunately, local governments impose costly restrictions on these businesses through a patchwork of outmoded zoning, licensing and permitting requirements.”
A section of the bill would allow home-based baking businesses to earn up to $50,000 a year — the cap today is $35,000 — and make it legal to sell jams, jellies and syrups made in a home kitchen. State regulators would have authority to inspect food prep businesses in a home.
“Six states have this. South Dakota just passed something very similar to this,” Wheeler said. “We believe folks may already be doing this, so this sets a framework up to not just legalize it, but to keep people safe through the proper channels.”
Representative Chuck Isenhart, a Democrat from Dubuque, said “a lot of folks liked working from home” during the pandemic and these concepts are worth discussing, but the bill may go too far.
“I think the bill is very broad in scope,” Isenhart said, “and probably has some unintended consequences that a lot of us will be wailing and gnashing our teeth over in the future.”
The bill passed the House on a 66-25 vote. If the Senate and the governor approve it, too, Iowa cities and counties would only be allowed to have regulations for at-home businesses that are based on public health and safety or the impact the business might have the residential neighborhood.