The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

February 12, 2014

Other Views: Scrambled thinking

— Political ambition appears to be scrambling Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s thinking.

The Democratic state official, whose sights on the governor’s office are well known, is attempting to cozy up to Missouri agricultural interests by getting the state involved in a long-shot, chicken-and-egg lawsuit.

Koster has sued the state of California over a law requiring that producers who sell eggs in that state must provide hens with enough room in their cages to stand up, turn around and spread their wings. Complying with that standard would create economic burdens for Missouri egg producers, he says.

California’s standard is reasonable. Few consumers want to think about this when they’re enjoying an omelet, but most egg-producing hens in the United States are stacked in cages so cramped their muscles and bones waste away. They suffer unduly so that egg producers, which are mostly large agricultural corporations, can enjoy healthy profits.

Fortunately — in part because of the California law — the industry is starting to move toward more humane treatment of egg-laying hens. It’s significant that egg producers themselves have not taken legal action against California’s new standard. Neither have attorneys general from the largest egg-producing states — or any other state.

Just Missouri.

Koster argues that the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause prevents one state from regulating the agricultural practices of other states. He says his lawsuit should cost Missouri taxpayers no more than $10,000.

That sounds low for a federal case. And perhaps not an easy one. Producers and sellers of foie gras made the same argument after California banned force-feeding of ducks and geese in order to produce an oversized liver. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected the claim, saying California was not restricting any state’s commerce because its law treated in-state and out-of-state producers the same.

Koster announced his intention to file the lawsuit at a meeting of the politically influential Missouri Farm Bureau, which balks at nearly any attempt to legislate agricultural practices. He has rolled out a lame slippery-slope argument — what if California required that soybeans be harvested by hand, for instance?

We haven’t heard much of a call for hand-picked soybeans. But plenty of people want their eggs to be produced in humane and safe conditions.

Missouri’s attorney general should not be standing in the way.

— The Kansas City Star

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Our View.jpg Our View: Pledge must be priority

    Mike Seibert, after being elected Joplin’s mayor on Monday, immediately pledged that the city will be operating with transparency.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Free choice

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) regarding right-to-work seems to assume that if workers are given the choice of joining a union, they won’t join.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Serious drawbacks

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) lays out clearly and persuasively the serious drawbacks with so-called right-to-work legislation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Step aside

    The people of Joplin made it clear they wanted change at City Hall with their decisive votes to replace two council members.

    April 16, 2014

  • Geoff Caldwell, columnist: Government without apology or explanation

    Americans feel closest to their Uncle Sam at this time of year as he extends his hand for his “fair share” to fund his numerous endeavors.

    April 16, 2014

  • Phill Brooks, columnist: Value of outside fiscal experts for government

    Missouri recently lost a man who had been one of the state’s tax leaders of decades past.

    April 15, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our View: Hate hurts us all

    Investigators say Sunday’s shooting of three people — two at a Jewish community center and another at a retirement complex in Overland Park, Kan. — were hate crimes.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other Views Other Views: State’s theatrics

    Conservatives in the Kansas Legislature have taken advantage of a serious problem — inequities in public school funding — to attack teachers and create new problems.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joan Banks, guest columnist: Right-to-work isn’t what’s right for Missouri

    Right-to-work legislation is up in the air right now in the Missouri Legislature.  Last week, the bill failed to get enough votes to advance to the Senate, but supporters are working to get those votes and move it forward.

    April 14, 2014

  • Our View: A hand across

    Have you ever needed $20 to help you get by until payday, a ride to work when your car wouldn’t start or someone responsible to watch your children for a few hours?
    Of course you have, and odds are you picked up the phone and there was someone on the other end willing to help.

    April 13, 2014

Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

The Supreme Court may take up a challenge to an Ohio law that bars false statements about political candidates during a campaign. Do you think false accusations made in the heat of an election should be punished as a crime?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Facebook
NDN Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Sports