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Tillis: Hand-washing policy should be up to businesses

Posted February 3, 2015

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis speaks on C-Span.

— Well, that's one way to get a video clip to go, ahem, viral.

Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis was winding up a talk to the Bipartisan Policy Center earlier this week when talk turned to deregulation. 

Tillis recalled how, as he was sitting in a coffee shop, he had been challenged on whether he would take his deregulatory philosophy so far as to not require food service employees to wash their hands after using the bathroom.

"I don't have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy if they post a sign saying, 'We don't require our employees to wash the hands after leaving the restroom,'" Tillis said. "The market will take care of it." 

To be clear, it sounds like Tillis fully endorses hand washing and believes any business that opts out of the policy would soon find itself going out of business. However, outlets ranging from the Washington Post to the Chicago Sun-Times have worked themselves into a lather over the two-minute clip.

If you need it, here's what the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has to say about washing your hands.

282 Comments

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  • Eq Videri Feb 6, 2015
    user avatar

    Typhoid Thom suffers hand-in-mouth disease.

  • hardycitrus Feb 4, 2015

    Bravely taking a stand against the New World Order and the evil Big Soap companies.

  • fanoflogic Feb 4, 2015

    Wow. I don't see Tillis being able to wash his hands of this one any time soon...

  • K Hope Capps Feb 4, 2015
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    Right! Exactly. I'm not naive enough to think that every food service employee washes their hands 100% of the time (there's a whole Seinfeld episode about this very topic), but I do think that the sign reminds employees and also that the regulations DO help prevent the spread of germs. Also, it squarely places the onus on the business and the employee - it's all about legal responsibility.

  • DJ-George Raleigh Feb 4, 2015
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    Did you watch the video? Did you hear the audience laugh at the outrageous-ness as intended? It was a lighthearted example meant to illustrate that different inputs could create the same outcome. Hate less.. read more

  • DJ-George Raleigh Feb 4, 2015
    user avatar

    The HEADLINE is a blatant and SAD example of their bias against Tillis and the Republicans. Perhaps you should go back and watch the video, or read the transcript.

    Perhaps then all you haters would see that his comment was made in jest to make the point that regulations are not the only way to achieve a desired outcome.

  • K Hope Capps Feb 4, 2015
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    Yes. Because it's called needing shelter, food and clothing.....

  • Justin Case Feb 4, 2015
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    Wow. You're right on for principle but completely off on common sense and common good.

    1st, this whole story is being taken out of context and 2nd, this is not 'bad' government regulation. Food safety is actually something I want from my government. Now, sugary beverage controls would be ridiculous, but I'm good with washing of hands.

  • Terry Watts Feb 4, 2015
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    As I posted before: "This is at the heart of this stupidity: Tillis can't support a gov't policy that makes a business post a sign about hand-washing. But instead supports a gov't policy that makes a business post a sign about hand-washing."

  • Justin Case Feb 4, 2015
    user avatar

    This should really embarrass republicans and all North Carolinians. It's one thing to say wearing seat belts or helmets doesn't really hurt other people, but comparing to the requirement to wash hands in food prep is ludicrous. Not washing hands DOES hurt others. The requirement means that a business has to at least think about adhering to the policy, but to remove would make me leery of ever eating at restaurant again. This kind of social engineering idiocy is why I'm no longer a republican.

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