Proposition 12 Challenge Receives State and Federal Support

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Industry

The Proposition 12 challenge brought by the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) has received significant support. A total of 20 states as well as the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) have filed amicus briefs supporting NAMI’s latest action. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld Prop 12 back in October after an appeal from NAMI. Now NAMI has filed a petition for rehearing en banc.

Proposition 12 Challenge

“The support from the United States government and 20 states underscores the significance of our case against Prop 12,” NAMI President and CEO, Julie Anna Potts said in a press release. “Prop 12 is unconstitutional and not only hurts consumers with higher prices for pork, veal and eggs, it is costly for the federal government’s programs designed to help those facing hunger, including the Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. At a time when so many are turning to this critical assistance during the pandemic, Prop 12 hurts those most in need.”

The DOJ amicus brief claims Prop 12 violates the Commerce Clause by improperly regulating extraterritorial conduct outside of state borders. DOJ also noted that the practical effects of Prop 12 will control methods of production outside of the state. Some of the states that are supporting the Proposition 12 challenge include Texas, Wyoming, Georgia, Montana, and Missouri. The states’ amicus brief highlights the undue burdens that would be placed on producers outside of California.

“The second provision, however, unconstitutionally purports to extend California’s animal-confinement regulations to every farmer in the United States,” the amicus brief reads. “Worse, California has proposed regulations that would permit its officials to conduct on-site inspections in other States and would impose onerous record-keeping requirements on out-of-state farmers.”

NAMI points to a report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office that details the impact Prop 12 will have. Consumer prices are likely to increase as producers retrofit facilities to comply with the housing guidelines. As the industry adjusts to the housing requirements, the supply of eggs, pork, and veal in California may not keep pace with demand.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West