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Your BBQ is About to Be Legislated

Red Dirt BBQ Festival
Red Dirt BBQ Festival

In Texas, things are bigger. Hair is bigger, state pride is enormous, and our love of barbecue is extreme. BBQ is so weighty in Texas that its heft is currently on the legislative docket.

We are specifically talking about House Bill 2029, officially titled ‘Weights and Scales in Restaurants.’ It’s not a lengthy bill, if you want to read it, but it does reference other chapters of the state agricultural code that no doubt are lengthy.

The Texas Restaurant Association has gotten behind Representative Lozano’s Bill. Explaining the bill’s intent,

“HB 2029 will exempt establishments that serve food for immediate consumption from the requirement that certified and registered scales be maintained in an establishment that serves food by weight. Establishments that sell fresh produce, food by bulk, or other food not served for immediate consumption would not be exempt from this legislation.”

So why all the fuss? Well, that’s where Operation Maverick comes in. The Texas Department of Agriculture began cracking down on BBQ restaurants and their non-compliant scales in 2015. This action has led the TRA and some restaurants to advocate change.

The proposed law would eliminate the need for registered scales at places that sell the food for immediate consumption, but not delis and butchers. Critics of the bill, feel that this would be an opportunity for restaurants to tamper with the scales and potentially rip the customer off.

The TRA feels that, “Requiring scales to be visible to consumers could force a restaurateur to incur substantial costs to redesign pay stations, countertops, or service areas to accommodate a scale.”

What do you think? The Bill is likely to be voted on this week. If you feel strongly about your BBQ, and knowing how much it weighs, maybe it’s time to call your state rep.

In the meantime, I’ll be getting ready to enjoy exceptional BBQ at the upcoming Red Dirt BBQ and Music Festival in Tyler, Tx on May.

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