A local West Virginian franchise restaurant operator said Wednesday he and other franchisees were reluctantly willing to follow a proposed law that would require them to post calorie contents on their menu boards.

However, St. Albans businessman Larue Causey changed his mind after the state Senate adopted the so-called Oshel Craigo amendment on Tuesday. The amendment effectively exempts the former senator’s Tudor’s Biscuit World and Gino’s pizza chains from the bill (SB419).

“We knew the calorie bill was coming out, and figured if it just exempted the mom-and-pop restaurants, we would go along with it,” said Causey, a part-owner of nine Subway franchises in the Kanawha Valley. “But for the Senate to exempt their friend is wrong.”

On Monday, the Senate rejected a version of the bill that would have imposed the menu-labeling requirement on fast-food and chain restaurants with 15 or more outlets nationally – which would have included Tudor’s and Gino’s.

In order to revive the bill – part of several healthy lifestyle initiatives pending in the Legislature this session – the Senate changed the standard to limit it to chains operating in 10 or more states, exempting Craigo’s franchises.

“I think it’s ridiculous. This is Wally Barron-era stuff,” Causey complained, referring to the former governor whose administration was known for corruption and cronyism.

“It should be for every restaurant in the state, number one, but to exclude a man of power is wrong,” he said.

Causey said he and other restaurateurs will go to court to block enforcement of the menu-labeling legislation if the exemption remains in the bill.

West Virginia Gazette.com