Attorney General Mike Hunter and 12 other attorneys general from across the nation have challenged California’s unjustifiably burdensome farming regulations in the U.S. Supreme Court, saying the policy has cost hundreds of millions of dollars to agricultural producers and consumers across the county.
According to the filing, California’s requirements for out of state egg producers violates both a federal law prohibiting states from imposing their own standards on eggs produced in other states, and the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which gives Congress exclusive authority to regulate commerce among and between states. Hunter said the over-regulation is placing an excessive burden on farmers and families across the country.
“This unconstitutional policy is forcing farmers to invest in expensive infrastructure and driving up the cost of eggs for families,” Hunter said. “Growing up on a farm in northwest Oklahoma, I know the difficulties farmers face on a daily basis. Adding unnecessary regulations makes life even harder. We must do everything we can to help our farmers succeed, while protecting the interests of Oklahomans.”
Filed with the lawsuit was an economic impact analysis by Joseph Haslag, a professor of economics and executive director of the Economic Policy Analysis and Research Center at The University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. In the report, Haslag wrote the additional costs of the law for farmers to sell eggs to California are between $227 million and $912 million.
“To summarize, the California cage-system regulations distorted the national egg market, causing costs to increase,” Haslag wrote. “What are left are producers who are no better off and consumers are unambiguously worse off because there is a welfare loss associated with egg price increase.”
In the report, Haslag also calculates that the regulation disproportionately impacts low-income households, who spend a larger fraction of their income on eggs and can least afford rising eggs prices.
According to the lawsuit, the California regulations have imposed a loss of $96.5 million to the lowest–income households in America.
Oklahoma was joined by the following states in the challenge: Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.