January 21, 2020

Policy Issues; Ag Economy; Trade; and, Regulations

Policy Issues

A news release yesterday from Rep. Steve King (R., Iowa) stated in part that, “[Rep. King] released the following statement after introducing the Protect Interstate Commerce Act (PICA). Last Congress, PICA was adopted by voice vote in the House Agriculture Committee to be included in the 2014 Farm Bill [note that a transcript and video replay from the House Ag Committee mark up of the PICA bill is available here].

“‘Open and unrestricted commerce between the states is a vital component for a thriving economy,’ said King. ‘The Constitution gives Congress the power to ‘regulate commerce among the several states’. The Constitution explicitly grants Congress the authority to regulate trade. My legislation would prevent states from enacting laws that would prohibit trade of an agricultural product from other states based on its means of production.

“‘On January 1, 2015 California began a state-wide ban on the sale of eggs based on the facilities in which the hens live. Just within the last month in anticipation of the new law coming into effect, California experienced a 79% increase in egg prices. Outside of California, the Midwest has seen a 35% increase since January 2014 in anticipation of these new requirements. If my legislation is enacted, it would not affect the fact that eggs are already regulated by the Federal Egg Inspection Act, and my legislation would allow their sale even if they aren’t produced by a specific state’s standards. This issue goes far beyond the California egg issue. Restricting interstate trade would create a great deal of confusion and increased costs to manufacturers. This would create a patchwork quilt of conflicting state regulations erected for trade protectionism reasons.'”

Recall also that The Wall Street Journal editorial board addressed this issue late last month, “California’s Scrambled Eggs.”