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Springfield, MO

State attorney general battles California egg law

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Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is doubling down on the office’s fight against California egg regulations.

A lawsuit first filed in 2014 by former Attorney General Chris Koster claims a 2008 law passed in California violated the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution and encroaches on Missouri sovereignty.

Hawley signaled efforts to appeal a decision made last year by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals saying Missouri, Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska and Oklahoma lacked the standing to pursue the claims. Yesterday, Hawley argued in new filings the Constitution gives states the right to defend its residents against out-of-state regulations, according to a news release.

The 2008 law in California prohibited farmers from using several agricultural production methods, including regulating the size of enclosures surrounding egg-laying hens. A 2010 ruling by the California State Assembly required other states, including Missouri, to comply with the rules when selling eggs in California, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

“These regulations are unconstitutional,” Hawley said in the release. “They will cost Missouri farmers tens of millions of dollars.”

Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst applauded Hawley’s efforts.

“This is a vital issue for Missouri farmers,” Hurst said in the release. “If other states can tell Missouri how to farm, we will be in a world of hurt.”


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