House Bill 2029 is officially titled Weights and Scales in Restaurants, but a spokesman for the office of Representative J.M. Lozano, who filed the bill, has a more succinct moniker: the barbecue bill.
The bill, which will go before the House on Tuesday, looks at the Texas Department of Agriculture’s scale inspections and certifications at barbecue joints and other eating establishments that sell their food by weight, such as frozen yogurt shops. We wrote about the TDA’s heightened enforcement efforts, also known as Operation Maverick, earlier this year, and the resulting increase of fees placed on barbecue joints. Lozano is a small business owner, and his website bio assures us that he “understands the problems of overreaching government regulations,” which is why he wants to eliminate the scale inspections and certifications.
The bill would amend the Texas Agriculture Code regarding scale inspections. The new language reads: “Notwithstanding any other law, a commercial weighing or measuring device that is exclusively used to weigh food sold for immediate consumption is exempt…”In other words, not deli or butcher counters at the grocery store. This is meant for restaurants selling food by weight.
The Texas Restaurant Association has more details on the bill. They argue that “the need for a restaurant to have a certified scale visible to the consumer is an antiquated and unnecessary burden to the restaurant industry.” If a majority of the Legislature agrees, the bill will go into effect on September 1.