Friday, May 08, 2009

Mixed Health Measure Signals From The Legislature Today

Not a week goes by that I don’t find myself shaking my head in wonderment when I see inconsistencies in how Texans regulate themselves.

Case in point: today I see two items in the Austin American-Statesman, where I get most of my “Unique to Texas” stories. In one, we find that the State Senate has just passed SB 204, authored by Eliot Shapleigh, (D-El Paso). This bill bans the serving of trans-fats in restaurants in Texas (including doughnut shops). Trans-fats, as we all should know, are the culprits behind heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

So that’s good, right? Texas strikes a blow for public health.

Right next to it, however, we find a story explaining that a bill authored by Myra Crownover, R-Denton, HB 5, “relating to the elimination of smoking in all workplaces and public places” has been defanged in the House Committee on State Affairs by excluding from the list of public places “certain bars” anywhere in Texas as well as any public place in any Texas county with a population under 115,000.

Apparently, it’s OK to have emphysema from secondary smoke in Texas, especially if you live out in the boonies, but it’s not OK to have a stroke . . . anywhere.

These little inconsistencies do get at you sometimes, but all is resolved when you look at what is behind it: the liquor lobby and the tobacco lobby obviously have more money and more pull in the Texas Legislature than say, the Elaidic acid lobby.

If it even exists.

But, in the vicinity of food and sin, vis-à-vis Texas, I am still waiting for a ban on Dijon mustard because everybody knows that once you put Dijon mustard on your hamburger, surely communism can’t be far behind.

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