Missouri Bolsters Fight Against California Egg Law

Dec 4, 2017

 

A 2015 California law requires hens to have a certain amount of space for egg laying. Missouri says that's unfair to out-of-state farmers and violates two federal laws.
Credit Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media/KBIA

Thirteen states filed a lawsuit Monday with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging a California law that requires farmers to give egg-laying hens more space.

The lawsuit, filed by Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, claims the 2015 California egg law is a violation of two federal laws. One prohibits state laws from discriminating against citizens of other states and another bans one state from imposing its farming regulations on other states.


Hawley commissioned an economic analysis that he says shows California’s law costs out-of-state farmers and consumers millions.

“The bottom line is this: If California is allowed to regulate farmers, then Missouri consumers are going to be paying more for their eggs,” he says. “Missouri farmers are going to be out of pocket and we're going to be spending more tax money just trying to keep up.”

Hawley filed a similar lawsuit that was denied in 2016. The court said the states didn’t have standing. Hawley hopes the economic report pads the case this time.

“It's really about taxation without representation,” he says. “I don't have a vote in the California legislature. Nobody in Missouri has a vote in the California legislature. We shouldn’t be regulated and taxed by California.”

Several new states have also joined Missouri’s latest lawsuit. Those listed as plaintiffs include Arkansas, Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

Hawley, a Republican, is trying to unseat the vulnerable Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill next year. President Donald Trump recently endorsed Hawley on a trip to Missouri.