Freshman senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) is really into regulatory reform. How into regulatory reform is he? He's so into regulatory reform that it's totally cool with him if businesses that serve food get to decide whether their employees are required to wash their hands. (Not a joke.)

The Washington Post reports that Tillis shared a disturbing anecdote about his comfort level with fecal coliform bacteria at the Bipartisan Policy Center Monday:

"As a matter of fact I think this is one where I think I can illustrate the point," he recalled telling [a woman at Starbucks]. "I don't have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy as long as they post a sign that says we don't require our employees to wash their hands after leaving the restroom. The market will take care of that. It's one example."

The Post makes a point of noting that Tillis said "told the story with his right hand raised for emphasis." Was that hand unwashed and crawling with poop-borne microorganisms? They don't say, but they also don't say it wasn't. At the end of the event, Bipartisan Policy Center President Jason Grumet "joked" that he was afraid to shake it. Oof.

So, to recap, Tillis's position is that regulation is bad. If the market is really so uncomfortable with a little poop, the market will stop eating artisanal poop-and-gouda breakfast sandwiches. The public will be able to make this informed choice because Starbucks will post signs about its poop policy. What if Starbucks doesn't want to post the signs Tillis wants? There should be some kind of ... rule, maybe? Guideline? Suggestion? Definitely not an evil regulation! requiring them to disclose their level of dedication to hygiene.

End result: Restaurant employees still wash their hands, but at least no one made them do it. Tillis will be damned if he lets regular Americans get pushed around by those radical anti-baccers in the Obama administration. This is about choice.

[h/t WaPo, Photo: Getty Images]