A bill is moving through the California Legislature that would extend the state’s upcoming ban on small cages for egg-laying hens to out-of-state egg producers.
The bill has received support from legislators who opposed Proposition 2. They say it will help California’s egg industry compete with out-of-state egg producers who, under current law, will not need to comply with Proposition 2 when its rules take effect in 2015. California’s $648 million egg industry is neutral on the legislation, which is championed by the same groups that backed Proposition 2.
Proposition 2 mandates that pigs, calves raised for veal and egg-laying hens have enough space to lie down, stand up, turn around and fully extend their limbs. Violators can face criminal penalties.
An Assembly committee analysis of the bill raised concerns that expanding Proposition 2’s rules to out-of-state egg producers could violate the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution meant to prevent states from restricting imports from other states.
In addition, the new legislation has failed to placate California egg producers’ frustration with Proposition 2. The industry is forming a new group, the Association of California Egg Farmers, mainly to deal with Proposition 2’s implementation.