Texas Business Report: Tan Ban Begins
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Texans under age eighteen will be banned from tanning salons when a new law passed in this year’s legislative session goes into effect on Sunday. Lawmakers drafted Senate Bill 329 in response to “clear evidence that using a tanning bed increased the risk of melanoma” by as much as 85 percent for people under eighteen, the Texas Tribune reports.
Tanning salons will also be required to maintain records of each customer’s first three sessions, noting details such as “the customer’s skin type, how long the tanning device was used and any injury or illness resulting from using the tanning device,” according to the Tribune. The law replaces an earlier policy that allowed minors between the ages of sixteen-and-a-half and eighteen to tan with a parent’s consent.
The Bottom Line: The American Suntanning Association opposes the ban, arguing that it will be harmful to businesses and “lead some to tan without supervision.”
No Well, No Well
The Dallas City Council has nixed a proposal to drill 52 natural gas wells and a compressor station near the city’s northwest border. While the vote is a victory for environmentalists, Mayor Mike Rawlings and several other council members expressed concern the decision will open the city to lawsuits from drilling company Trinity East Energy and other parties, the Dallas Business Journal reports.
The city leased the proposed drilling sites—which are situated in parkland and flood plains near Irving—to the company in 2008 for $19 million. Trinity made that investment in a time when gas was trading for more than $10 per British thermal unit, but drilling the wells would be far less economical now that the price has dropped below $4, according to the DBJ.
The Bottom Line: In addition to the legal expenses of denying the drilling permits, the council’s decision could result in “the loss of tax base, royalties, revenue and employment,” Trinity president Steve Fort said.
You Want Strikes With That?
Employees of fast-food restaurants in several Texas cities joined in a nationwide strike this week, calling for a minimum wage of $15 an hour and the right to unionize. Austin, Dallas, and Houston are among nearly sixty cities with groups participating in the rallies, making this the industry’s largest strike to date, the Texas Tribune reports. Organizers contend the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is insufficient to keep up with the cost of living. Nationally, the median hourly pay for fast-food workers is $8.94.
The Bottom Line: The National Restaurant Association and the Texas Restaurant Association dispute the protesters’ claims that the wages are unfair, arguing that only “five percent of restaurant employees earn the minimum wage and those that do are predominantly working part-time and half are teenagers,” according to Reuters.
Winners of the Week: College Station Ticket Scalpers
Aggie football fans will have to pay up if they want to see their team vie for a repeat of last year’s upset win over defending national champs Alabama. Forbes reports the average resell ticket price for the Sept. 14 game is $744—making it the most expensive college football game of the year, according to online ticket broker Vivid Seats. That’s 35 percent higher than the second-priciest tickets, Alabama’s annual matchup against LSU in November, which are going for an average of $550.
The minimum price for A&M–Alabama has risen above $350, and many field-level seats are going for more than $1,500 apiece.
Losers of the Week: Eagle Ford Drillers
A new study finds that some drilling operations in South Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale have “probably led to a recent wave of small earthquakes” in the region, the Wall Street Journal reports. The journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters published the findings, which suggest the quakes probably occur when the removal of underground oil and water causes adjacent layers of rock and sand to settle. According to the Journal, this is “the first large study to link oil reservoir depletion with an increase in earthquakes.”
The study’s authors emphasize that it’s the large-scale extraction of the liquids—not necessarily the practice of hydraulic fracturing itself—that causes the tremors. However, there may be an indirect connection, as much of the water being extracted is later used in the fracking process.