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Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley should be commended for his efforts to keep California’s Proposition 2 egg law from burdening Missouri egg farmers and egg consumers. At the same time, he should be chastised for trying to make it a partisan issue.
Hawley’s office last week issued a press release that announced he would challenge the law -- that requires that eggs produced and sold in the state are laid by hens that have adequate room to stand up, sit down, turn around and extend their limbs without touching another bird or the sides of the cage -- “all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
But the Republican attorney general was also quoted as saying: “Make no mistake, this is an attempt by big-government liberals to impose job-killing regulation on Missouri.”
It would appear that Hawley is choosing to ignore that his predecessor, Chris Koster, was the first to challenge the California egg law. Koster is a Democrat.
It’s also worth noting that five other states have joined Missouri in its fight to keep California’s law from affecting the egg industry outside of the Sunshine State. Those states are Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Alabama. All five joined Koster’s fight before Hawley was even elected.
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear are also both Democrats.
Meanwhile, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, and then-Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt [who has since been confirmed to head the Environmental Protection Agency] are all Republicans.
With that in mind, it should be pretty apparent that this not an issue of one political party trying to impose its beliefs onto the others, but rather an issue of one state trying to impose its regulations onto others.
The citizens of Missouri, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Alabama and Iowa who see the law as unfair can only hope that Hawley’s attempt to politicize the issue will not undermine the bipartisan cooperation or harm the case’s success in court.