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March 25, 2014

LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Dustin McDaniel today said he would not seek to join a lawsuit against California over that state’s restrictions on egg imports, though he pledged his full support to neighboring Missouri in its efforts.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed a federal lawsuit against California last month challenging the constitutionality of a California law that would ban the sale of eggs produced from hens in cages that fail to meet certain size and space requirements. The law takes effect next year. Missouri’s suit contends that California’s restrictions would harm out-of-state egg producers and that the law would violate the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

McDaniel considered joining the suit, but determined that no Arkansas egg producers would be directly impacted by the California law. Of the approximately one billion table eggs produced in the State each year, only a small percentage are exported from Arkansas to California.  Almost all of those exported eggs are produced on farms that are already in compliance with the pending law.

“I am concerned about the California statute because I believe no state should have the ability to substantially impact agriculture policy in another state,” McDaniel said. “However, it does not appear that the California act would directly harm any Arkansas farmers, so it would be premature to join the lawsuit at this time.”

McDaniel said his office will continue to monitor Missouri’s litigation and may offer its support in an amicus curiae brief at a later date.