AGRIBUSINESS: Governor’s Lawsuit Opposes California Law

Before the Farm Bill was passed, a big point of contention was the King Amendment, which never made it to the final bill.

That amendment would have stopped California from forcing standards on egg production.

The California law requires that all eggs sold in California must come from birds kept in cages large enough for the birds to spread their wings.  Because Iowa producers are not required to comply with that standard, which means eggs produced in Iowa cannot legally be sold in California.

Governor Terry Branstad joined a lawsuit on Thursday opposing California’s law, saying it violates the commerce clause.

Iowa is the top producer of eggs in the nation, pumping out nearly 15-billion eggs every year.  About nine percent of that goes to California, which totals about one-third of their imports.  The egg law could double housing costs for Iowa egg producers.

This isn’t the first time Branstad has spoken out against California for limiting state commerce. Back in July of 2012, Branstad said California was discriminating against Iowan ethanol.

“The intention of the original constitution of the United States, the constitution that we live under today was that states would not be able to restrict interstate commerce.  Indeed that’s exactly what California is doing, discriminating against our own state,” Branstad said.

The lawsuit was filed by the Missouri Attorney General and is backed by five other states.

HSUS said it applauds the California law, saying the lawsuit could have far-reaching consequences for a raft of state laws that protect agriculture and consumers.