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Missouri AG Claims California Egg Law is Unconstitutional

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is asking a federal court to deem a California farming law unconstitutional.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is asking a federal court to deem a California farming law unconstitutional.

According to a news release from Koster’s office, a California farming law encroaches on Missouri’s sovereignty and violates the Commerce Clause of the Unites States Constitution, which prohibits any state from enacting legislation that regulates conduct outside its borders, protects its own citizens from out-of-state competition, or places undue burdens on interstate commerce.

Proposition 2, a ballot initiative approved in 2008, prohibits farmers in the state of California from using a number of agricultural production methods. For example, beginning in 2015, California egg producers are required to comply with new regulations concerning the size of the cages housing egg-laying chickens.

In 2010 the California State Assembly passed AB1437, a new legislation requiring egg producers in other states to comply with Proposition 2 in order to keep selling their eggs in California.

"California has placed restrictions on the sale or transfer of a commodity based on production methods that have nothing to do with the health or safety of California consumers," says Koster. "If California legislators are permitted to mandate the size of chicken coops on Missouri farms, they may just as easily demand that Missouri soybeans be harvested by hand or that Missouri corn be transported by solar-powered trucks."

Missouri's seven million egg-laying hens produce about 1.7 billion eggs per year and approximately 540 million of those eggs are sold to consumers in California.
Koster says California’s law forces Missouri egg producers to face about $120 million in capital improvement costs and a 20 percent increase in ongoing production costs.

If Missouri’s egg producers halt egg sales with California, they will face a surplus of half a billion eggs, which could depress prices in Missouri and force some of the states farmers out of business, according to Koster.

"This case is not merely about farming practices," says Koster. "At stake is whether elected officials in one state may regulate the practices of another state's citizens who cannot vote them out of office.”





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