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Tamale bill heads back to Hobbs’ desk

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(The Center Square) – A new version of cottage food legislation known as the “tamale bill” is bound once again for Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs’ desk.

House Bill 2042, sponsored by Rep. Travis Grantham, R-Gilbert, is similar to last year’s bill, which would legalize the street sale of certain food prepared in home kitchens.

“This common sense right-sizing of food preparation regulations is bipartisan for a reason. There’s no reason not to allow entrepreneurial Arizonans the opportunity to build small businesses from their kitchens,” Americans for Prosperity’s Arizona State Director Stephen Shadegg told The Center Square in a statement. The free-market organization is holding a rally at the Capitol on Wednesday in hopes of encouraging the governor’s signature.

Although the bill passed unanimously in the House in February, it passed the Senate in a much more narrow 17-11 vote on Monday, with Sen. Theresa Hatathlie being the only Democrat who voted in favor.

“And unfortunately, at the 23rd hour, we heard concerns that the amendment that would do ultimately what the proponents in the bill said last year would do were not accepted,” Sen. Anna Hernandez, D-Phoenix, said, saying she hoped to support the legislation this year, but the final version did not match conversations she’d had.

A similar version of the bill was vetoed by Hobbs last year, which led to a failed veto override attempt with Republicans and some Democrats rallying in support of the legislation.

The Center Square reported in February that this bill would give the Arizona Department of Health Services some power. In addition, the person “preparing the cottage food product or directly supervising” needs to have a food handler’s certification.

The Center Square reached out to the governor’s office, but they declined to comment. The bill has yet to be formally transmitted to Hobbs.

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