Since July 2011, we've had a set of laws on the books that allow for cottage industry food production. These laws limit producers to just baked goods, confections and some jams, jellies, preserves, fruit butters, but there is no sales limit, and getting started is easy.

Arizona residents must register for the Arizona Cottage Food Program before selling homemade food. Prior to registration, participants must complete a food handler training course. Some counties issue county-specific food handler cards. Other counties offer online training.

Many families rely on Arizona's Cottage Food Laws to make ends meet. This program was established and continues to function as a safe way for families to participate in business ownership with minimal yet required barriers to entry. They are often starting small businesses part-time and becoming a contributing and vital part of our local economy.

With a super majority bi-partisan support in both chambers, the state legislature recently passed HB2509, which expands the allowed food products to include meats that don't require refrigeration, such as tamales.

This is a commerce bill, and had super-majority bi-partisan support during the House vote and during the Senate vote. We were glad to see so many legislators on both sides of the aisle supporting commerce and our local economy.

Within the North Phoenix Chamber of Commerce's geographic area, we overlap with seven legislative districts. Businesses that are members of the chamber of commerce operate within the guidelines of the Arizona Cottage Food Program.

When this bill made its way to Governor Hobbs' desk for signing into law, she chose to veto this bill.

Fortunately, there is a veto override process in Arizona. The bill came back through the state legislature for a vote to override the governor's veto.

I'm disappointed in several of our state legislators that have constituents within my North Phoenix Chamber of Commerce area. Their constituents are families that rely on the Arizona Cottage Food Program to survive. Three legislators voted twice to approve the bill, but then changed their vote during the veto override process. They are Judy Schwiebert (D) LD2, Analise Ortiz (D) LD24 and Laura Terech (D) LD4.

These three legislators saw the value of helping small businesses and supporting struggling families. They each agreed, on two separate occasions, to support this important bill that simply expanded the type of food a certified food handler could handle within the guidelines of the Arizona Cottage Food Program.

When asked again to confirm their commitment to helping their constituents continue operating within the guidelines of the Arizona Cottage Food Program, they chose instead to show their party politics and block the veto override process.

I think these three legislators need to consider the impact they just had on their constituents. While I'm glad they initially demonstrated support for this bill, I feel that they allowed party politics to get in the way of doing the right thing. I see their final action of changing their vote as a direct attack against small businesses and the path to business ownership. They chose to align their politics with our governor, not their constituents.

Moving forward, I hope all the legislators, and these three in particular, take into account how their actions affect the local economy and the small business owners that helped put them in office.

The North Phoenix Chamber of Commerce

Established in 1963 as a non-profit trade association (501(c)6), our mission is to foster growth in the economy by connecting leaders and influencers, being a champion for small businesses and being a catalyst for economic growth.

To learn more about the North Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, visit or call during regular business hours at 602-482-3344. The office is located at 10210 N. 32nd St., Suite C-213, Phoenix.

Tom Argiro is executive director of the North Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

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