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U.S. Supreme Court may hear lawsuit over California’s egg law
U.S. Supreme Court may hear lawsuit over California’s egg law

Over a dozen states sue California

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter
Farms.com

Representatives from more than a dozen American states have filed a joint lawsuit to the Supreme Court against the State of California’s egg legislation.

Any eggs entering California for sale must come from hens that have enough space to stretch out in their cages. This regulation is consistent with California’s hen-raising requirements.

Those requirements were part of 2008’s Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act and have been in full effect since Jan. 1, 2015, according to the State’s Legislative Analyst’s Office.

But the plaintiffs in the case, which include Missouri, Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska, feel California’s law is harmful.

Forcing producers to comply with out-of-state law causes the price of eggs to increase.

The national price of eggs has increased between 1.8 per cent and 5.1 percent since January 2015, according to a University of Missouri study included in the lawsuit, cited by The Washington Post. California’s egg regulations have cost consumers nearly $350 million annually, the study says.

In addition, some believe the regulations violate the U.S. Constitution.

Within the Constitution is the Commerce Clause, which gives Congress exclusive authority to regulate commerce among and between states.

But if California is setting the agenda for other egg-producing states, then it isn’t abiding by the Constitution, according to Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who is spearheading the lawsuit on Missouri’s behalf.

“These regulations are unconstitutional and a clear attempt by big-government proponents to impose job-killing regulations on Missouri,” he said in a statement yesterday. “This discrimination against Missouri farmers will not stand. I will continue to defend our farmers and protect the interests of Missouri consumers.”

Last year, a three-judge panel dismissed a similar attempt by Missouri and other states to overturn California’s egg laws because they lacked evidence to support their argument.

The Supreme Court hasn’t yet indicated whether it will hear the case.