The Senate has approved Senate Bill 1388, which would sweeten the pot for urban gardeners to raise honeybees by giving tax exempt status to bee products sold at farmers markets across the state.
Sen. Allison Ikley-Freeman, D-Tulsa, said she authored the bill after a food desert in west Tulsa led her to look at alternative ways her constituents could access fresh produce.
“Many people in my district have become urban gardeners because of the lack of fruits and vegetables available to them at their nearest grocery store,” said Ikley-Freeman, D-Tulsa. “Gardens are sprouting up across the area, but with few honeybees to pollinate the plants, they are struggling to produce. Growing our honeybee population would increase the success of local gardens that provide fresh produce for those who need it.”
While producers who sell agricultural products directly from their farm, orchard, garden or dairy are already exempt from charging sales tax, bee products are excluded under current Oklahoma law.
“I hope allowing beekeepers to make and sell their own honey, candies, soaps, lotions and candles tax-free will incentivize Oklahomans to look into the buzz surrounding the apiary industry,” Ikley-Freeman said. “Something as simple as a honeybee could give many of our citizens a second stream of income. I appreciate my colleagues for supporting an outside-of-the-box solution to fight food insecurity in our state.”
The measure now moves to the House of Representatives for approval. Rep. Marcus McEntire, R-Duncan, is the bill’s principal House author.
For more information, contact: Sen. Ikley-Freeman at 405-521-5600, or email Allison.Ikley-Freeman@oksenate.gov.
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