Missouri scrambles California’s eggs

Yesterday, the Attorney General of Missouri filed a Motion for Leave to File a Bill of Complaint in the United States Supreme Court, charging California with violations of the Constitution.

The Bill of Complaint “…involves a single State’s (California) attempt to dictate a manner of agricultural production in every other State.” Finally other states are standing up to California’s bullying tactics. California, with its friends at the Humane Society of the United States, has increased enormously the cost of egg production in numerous states.

Twelve states have joined together to challenge California in the U.S. Supreme Court. The reason Missouri and eleven other states have sued in the U.S. Supreme Court is that Article III of the U.S. Constitution declares that disputes where states are parties and there is a controversy between the states, the Supreme Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over such actions.

The States’ Bill of Complaint is composed of 101 paragraphs. The States want the Supreme Court to declare California’s regulations relating to the size of cages for hens be declared invalid under the Supremacy Clause because the regulations are preempted by the federal Egg Products Inspection Act (EPIA).

They also want the California egg cage size regulations declared invalid because they violate the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

Many have never heard of the Egg Products Inspection Act (EPIA). The EPIA requires uniformity of labeling, standards, and other provisions which allow for free movement of eggs and egg products in interstate commerce. According to the complaint, the EPIA displaces any state or local regulation for eggs shipped in interstate commerce. The States believe the EPIA “preempts” any state or local law under the Supremacy Clause.

Remember Prop 2?

Proposition 2 went into effect in California at the start of 2015, and required that “a person shall not tether or confine any covered animal, including any egg-laying hen, on a farm, for all or the majority of any day, in a manner that prevents such animal from: (a) Lying down, standing up, and fully extending his or her limbs; and (b) Turning around freely.”

Proposition 2 imposed a $1,000 fine and 180 days in county jail if the regulation was violated.

California farmers immediately claimed Proposition 2 placed them at a competitive disadvantage compared to egg farmers in other states. The farmers feared their costs would be 20% higher on average than non-California farmers.

Read more of this Farm Futures article by Gary Baise by clicking here.