A few months ago, my colleague David Guenthner wrote about a New York City rule that required all chain restaurants to post the calorie counts of their menu items. He pointed out that sharing this information is a decision that should be made by businesses in response to consumer demands; seeing as very few restaurants are posting these statistics without a mandate, it must not be information that the public is demanding. But apparently the idea of imposing laws on restaurants that dictate how they do business is a growing trend with policymakers.
As bills for the 81st Legislative Session begin pouring in, there is an abundance of bills that attempt to tell business owners how to operate. One of the most notable is SB 204, a bill that would ban the use of transfats in restaurants.
Undoubtedly, this legislation is an effort to curb the growing number of Texans who are overweight. But reducing the number of overweight Texans (nearly 30% of the state is overweight) is not a responsibility of government; neither is telling business owners how to serve their customers. That is a job best left to consumers and the market.
– Kalese Hammonds