The growing popularity of food trucks has led states across the country to modernize laws governing the industry.
Utah and Maryland both passed regulatory reform in 2017. This was followed by Arizona, Rhode Island, and Washington in 2018. Then Colorado and Virginia passed laws in 2019, Florida in 2020, and Georgia in 2022. All of these states have eliminated redundancy and simplified regulations.
Now, Nebraska lawmakers have the chance to do the same.
Legislative Bill (LB) 740, introduced by Sen. Tony Vargas, offers a fresh set of solutions to a problem that has puzzled lawmakers for years.
The licensing process used in Nebraska was designed for brick-and-mortar restaurants, not mobile food units. It varies widely between health departments, counties, and municipalities. Since there are different rules in every jurisdiction, we found more than 600 versions of regulations that a food truck has to follow.
To help ease that burden, LB 740 encourages the use of reciprocity agreements between agencies. These agreements can reduce the number of permits a mobile food unit needs to acquire. Reciprocity also helps establish a common set of health and safety standards, so consumers can be confident they are receiving a safe and healthy product.
The bill asks state agencies to create a one-stop-shop so operators can more easily find out which rules apply where. It is common for a food truck operator to spend hours researching permit requirements before they visit a new community. Putting this information all in one place saves them time and expense, and it helps communities show they are open for business.
These small business entrepreneurs are navigating a permitting process unlike any other professional industry. The solutions offered in LB 740 can better facilitate economic growth in this emerging market by streamlining regulations, eliminating redundancies, and removing barriers to success.