Can States Regulate How Products are Made Outside their States? Missouri challenges California’s Egg Industry Law and Dormant Commerce Clause Will Get Yet Another Court View

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Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California over California legislation that requires egg producers in Missouri to comply with California Proposition 2, a 2008 ballot initiative that requires California egg producers to comply with new regulations. In the suit, Koster alleges that the California farming law violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. This clause prohibits a state from enacting legislation that regulates conduct outside of its borders, protects its citizens from out-of-state competition, or puts undue burdens on interstate commerce. Koster said, “If California legislators are permitted to mandate the size of chicken coops on Missouri farms, they may just as easily demand that Missouri soybeans be harvested by hand or that Missouri corn be transported by solar-powered trucks.” Missouri produces about 1.7 billion eggs per year, 540 million of which are sold to consumers in California.

Challenges to California rules that attempt to govern product manufacture are increasing, see challenge to California’s low carbon fuel standard, and to its County-level pharmaceutical take-back program (additional information).