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The Wall Street Journal reports that the New York and California state legislatures are both considering laws that would require sit-down restaurants to provide nutritional facts – including calories, fat content, sodium and carbohydrates – on their menus. According to the story, if passed and signed into law these bills would be the first time states have ventured into regulatory territory that previously has been the province of cities and counties.

It is by no means certain that these bills will become law. The Journal notes that “menu-labeling laws face resistance from some political leaders. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill last year, and Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue signed a bill May 12 that will ban counties from enacting the laws.” And, “An official for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a health-advocacy group that supports menu labeling, says that by the group's latest tally, 15 other state legislatures have introduced similar bills in the past two years, but none have been enacted.”

KC's View:
It seems to me that at some level, common sense ought to be used in crafting these laws. Which is to say that restaurants ought to be required to have menus that include nutritional information, and that they ought to be given to patrons who request them. (There could be a notation at the bottom of the standard menus that advertises the fact that these menus are available on request.)

But it seems silly to make everybody read this information if they aren’t looking for it. I go to Emeril’s, for example, and I don't need to know the nutritional information for the gumbo or the banana cream pie. In fact, I don't want to know it. I’m there for a specific experience, and calorie counting isn’t it.

Of course, we’re talking about politics and government here, so common sense probably should not be factored into the equation.

One other thing. How dare Gov. Sonny Perdue tell towns and counties in Georgia that they can't pass such laws? He’s a Republican, and by definition that means he ought to be in favor of putting power in the hands of localities. I don't get it.