Georgia among 20 states challenging California's Proposition 12
On Feb. 26, 20 states, including Georgia, filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the petition filed by the North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 12 (Prop 12).
“The governments of nearly half the states agree,” said Meat Institute President and CEO, Julie Anna Potts. “If California is allowed to apply its laws to conduct in other states, a single state will dictate policies in all others, encouraging a patchwork of regulations and threatening the free flow of interstate commerce.”
The brief was filed by Indiana, joined by Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
“It (Prop 12) freely permits California to impose regulations directly on out-of-state commercial conduct and thereby fosters inconsistent state regulatory obligations and enables tit-for-tat state regulatory conflict,” the states argued in the amicus brief. “The ultimate result may be transformation of America’s current integrated national market into a patchwork of regulatory regions.”
Georgia Farm Bureau opposes government regulation of specific livestock production practices.
In February, the Meat Institute filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the Supreme Court to review an earlier ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the Meat Institute’s challenge to the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 12: The Farm Animal Confinement Initiative. The Meat Institute opposes the law because it is unconstitutional and will hurt the nation’s food value chain by significantly increasing costs for producers and consumers. The petition may be found here, appendix here.
The question in the case is whether the U.S. Constitution permits California to extend its police power beyond its territorial borders by banning the sale of wholesome pork and veal products sold into California unless out-of-state farmers restructure their facilities to meet animal-confinement standards dictated by California.
In its brief, the Meat Institute urged the Court to grant review because the “Ninth Circuit’s decision conflicts with the decisions of other federal courts of appeals on the question whether the Constitution limits a State’s ability to extend its police power beyond its territorial borders through a trade barrier dictating production standards in other States and countries.” Allowing Prop 12 to stand “insulates in-state farmers from out-of-state competition, while imposing crushing burdens on out-of-state farmers and producers who have no political voice to shape the regulations that California has unilaterally determined to foist upon their operations outside of California.”
Meanwhile in Colorado, activists are petitioning the state legislature to put similar restrictions up for a public vote in 2022. A coalition of state agriculture leaders and their organizations, including Colorado Farm Bureau, has formed to oppose Initiative 16, a potential 2022 ballot initiative that would ask voters to criminalize commonly accepted veterinary and animal care practices in Colorado. It would also ban the slaughter of livestock that have not yet lived more than one-quarter of their anticipated lifetime, a standard far longer than consumer and foreign markets demand.