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

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Opinion
  • Our View.jpg Our View: No need for No. 9

    “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that the people shall be secure in their electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects?”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: ‘Right to Farm’ is wrong

    On Aug. 5, voters will be asked to make a decision about Amendment 1.

    July 29, 2014

  • Your View: No on Amendment 7

    The Missouri Department of Transportation is wanting more money through a three-quarter-cent addition to the sales tax. Consider one example of how it spends your money.

    July 29, 2014

  • Your View: Bad way to get revenue

    I received two fliers through the mail today asking me to vote “yes” on Amendment 7, which would add a three-quarter-cent tax to Missouri’s sales tax to help maintain roads and bridges.

    July 29, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: Symptom of bad policy

    The Obama administration continues to be surprised and shocked when its policies of good intentions suddenly meet the hard reality of unintended consequences.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rebecca French Smith, guest columnist: Amendment 1: Farmers are 'boots on the ground'

    Take a moment and ask yourself who was the last person in your family to farm.

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View; Makes no sense

    Chess was never my game. It’s too complicated.

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View: Time value of money

     I was shaking my head along with Anson Burlingame (“Much has changed in U.S. over 14 years,” Globe, July 22), then he offered his readers a chance: “Go ahead — take your pick.”

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View: Boiling a frog

    We voters are now being urged to vote on Aug. 5 for Amendment 7 “to fix our roads, highways and bridges.”

    July 28, 2014

  • Our view: 'Yes' on 7

    Opponents of Amendment 7 say this: “Missouri families are already hard pressed to pay their bills during this period of slow economic recovery.”

    July 26, 2014

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