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ADVANCE EDITORIAL: Congress must save Americans’ bacon from California power grab

Three years ago, voters in California went to the polls and while there, passed one of the propositions that was on the ballot. Now, the bacon in the pan is sizzling because the law’s implementation date is just around the corner, and most pork producers across the country haven’t taken steps to meet the law in California, whose people consume about 15 percent of the pork raised in the country. California’s Proposition 12 requires that meat products raised outside of California meet the animal rights standards adopted by that state in its public health regulations. Among them is each hog in a confinement have a minimum of 24 square feet of space. But that standard doesn’t fit the profit model for owners and operators of modern confined hog production facilities.
Californians approved this law in an effort to improve conditions for livestock. That’s really not the issue in this case. The issue is whether California, as one of the 50 states, has the authority to unilaterally limit trade among states. What happens if Missouri requires Georgia peach trees to be farther apart, New York won’t import gasoline blended in Texas, etc.? A collection of nation states that regulate one another doesn’t work. That’s why the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution exists, and it’s why Congress must act. Courts have long said it’s Congress that regulates these things, and Congress needs to quit talking nonsense and start making some sausage on these types of situations that impact Americans’ lives. California’s Prop 12 cannot be allowed to stand.
What do you think? Vote in our poll through Sept. 20.

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