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Gov. Katie Hobbs supports new 'tamale bill'

Gov. Katie Hobbs is on board with a new version of the tamale bill that she vetoed last year.

The latest bill would expand the types of home-cooked foods, or cottage foods, in Arizona that can legally be sold to the public, including tamales and other products that may include meat. The bill includes other regulations, including labeling requirements and a prohibition on using cottage foods as an ingredient in food sold at retail stores.

It would allow vendors to sell cottage foods in a store if they are placed in a separate section that notifies customers the items are homemade.  

Hobbs vetoed a similar bill last year over concerns it could increase the spread of food-borne illness.

But a new version of the bill passed Thursday through the Arizona House with unanimous support. 

Rep. Alma Hernandez (D-Tucson) said lawmakers have been working on the new proposal since Hobbs vetoed the old bill last year.

“This is something that we’ve been working on for the last year I guess now,” Hernandez said.

Rep. Travis Grantham (R-Gilbert), the bill’s sponsor, said the new proposal was the product of negotiations with the governor’s office and lawmakers in the state Senate.

“Many of the items that were of concern last year, that were listed as a reason for veto, were addressed in this bill,” he said.

That includes language defining what constitutes a home kitchen and a requirement that home cooks have a food handler certification.

A spokesman for Hobbs confirmed the governor supports the new bill.

Wayne Schutsky is a broadcast field correspondent covering Arizona politics on KJZZ. He has over a decade of experience as a journalist reporting on local communities in Arizona and the state Capitol.