Led by Mo. attorney general, 13 states file lawsuit asking for end to California’s egg regulations

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- You are paying more for eggs than you did three years ago – and California could be to blame.

Missouri’s attorney general, Josh Hawley, filed a lawsuit against that state, claiming burdensome laws there are hurting your pocketbook.

When you go to the store and buy a carton of eggs, you don’t think about the living conditions of the hens who laid them. But California lawmakers did, and they passed laws a decade ago stating California stores could only sell eggs from hens raised on farms where they have enough room to stand up, lie down and walk around.

At most egg laying facilities hens are placed close together in cages. There’s not a lot of room for them to stretch their legs. Many Missouri egg farmers raise their chickens this way, and they send more than 52 million eggs to California each year.

But the California law banning egg imports from hens stuck in cages means farmers have to build bigger chicken coops, which costs money - and to pay for that, they raise the price of eggs.

Attorney General Josh Hawley filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court asking for an end to what he calls California’s burdensome regulations.

Hawley included an economic analysis from a Mizzou professor that shows the prices of eggs have risen two to five percent over the past three years, with consumers spending an extra $350 million a year on eggs.

He also claims costs states thousands of dollars more to buy eggs needed to feed prisoners. Hawley claims it’s illegal for California to impose its own standards on eggs produced in other states and hopes the Supreme Court agrees.

Twelve other states have joined this lawsuit.

The Supreme Court declined to hear a similar challenge from Hawley earlier this year, but this lawsuit includes an economic impact study which he hopes convinces the justices to see it his way.