With an already brewing controversy about public officials weighing in on health issues, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis may have chosen the wrong time to express his belief that businesses should be able to opt out of certain government regulations, even those requiring employees to wash their hands after using the restrooms.
The freshman lawmaker was participating in a discussion at the Bipartisan Policy Center when he decided to tell a story that would give the audience "an idea of where my bias is" with regard to the issue of regulatory reform
Tillis went on to detail a conversation he had at Starbucks with someone who favored more regulation when an employee emerged from the restrooms. Tillis was making the point that "as long as they indicate through proper disclosure and employment literature, there is this level of regulation" that might be left to the market to decide.
As he was concluding his point, the individual asked whether he would agree with allowing the coffee franchise to "opt out" of hygiene regulations that require employees to properly wash their hands.
"I don't have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy as long as they post a sign that says, 'We don't require our employees to wash their hands after they use the restroom,' " Tillis responded. "The market will take care of that."
However, he quickly added, "Every business that did that would go out of business, but I think it is straight to the point."
Tillis, who narrowly defeated incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan 49 percent to 47 percent last November, is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and has made regulatory reform one of his priorities.
"It may have been a well-intended measure, but when you see it in practice, it's killing jobs or preventing businesses from expanding," Tillis told WRAL News
when talking about his plans to push for more regulatory reform.
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