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WI Joins States Opposing California's Restrictive Farming Rules
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 12/06/2017

Wisconsin is joining more than a dozen other states in filing a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to block a California law that requires all eggs sold in that state to come from chickens that are housed in pens that are large enough for the hens to stretch. State Attorney General Brad Schimel claims that California's regulations violate both a federal law prohibiting states from imposing their own standards on eggs produced in other states, as well as with the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress exclusive authority to regulate commerce among and between states.

"California's attempt to impose their regulations on Wisconsin farmers is overreaching and unconstitutional," Schimel said. "In order to ensure Wisconsin farmers a stable and reasonable regulatory environment, excessive regulations must be stopped."

The issue stems from a 2008 ballot initiative in California that requires any hens being kept in cages spend most of their day in spaces large enough that they can lie down, stand up, turn around and fully extend their limbs. As part of the legislation, farmers in the Golden State were given until 2015 to comply.

Last year, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that states lacked standing to pursue their claims. But this latest filing in the U.S. Supreme Court answers this by providing a careful economic analysis that establishes the impact of these burdensome regulations.

A spokesperson with California's attorney general office said it is reviewing the lawsuit.

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