March 6, 2014
Jefferson City, Mo. –Attorney General Koster announced today that five states have joined Missouri in its suit against the state of California, alleging that California is unconstitutionally attempting to regulate farming practices beyond its borders. The states joining Missouri's suit are Nebraska, Alabama, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Iowa--the largest producer of eggs in the United States. Together with Missouri, these states produce more than 20 billion eggs per year, 10% of which are sold to California consumers.
In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 2, a ballot initiative that, beginning in 2015, regulates the size of the enclosures housing egg-laying hens. To avoid any potential competitive disadvantage to California's egg producers, the California State Assembly passed legislation (AB1437) in 2010 requiring egg producers in other states to comply with Proposition 2 in order to sell eggs in California.
The six states are asking the federal court to rule that California's legislation violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. The Commerce Clause prohibits any state from enacting legislation that regulates conduct wholly outside its borders, protects its own citizens from out-of-state competition, or places undue burdens on interstate commerce.
"We welcome the five states joining our effort," said Koster. "This case is not just about farming practices. 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."