Free Minds & Free Markets

Will Congress Block State Overreach in Farming Regulations? New at Reason

Some states are attempting to control livestock practices outside their own borders.

Chicken farmYotrak / DreamstimeEarlier this summer, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Calif.) introduced a bill that could dramatically change the ways states tax and regulate interstate commerce, including commerce in agriculture and food.

The bill is intended to rein in "certain State impositions on interstate commerce." It declares "a State may tax or regulate a person's activity in interstate commerce only when such person is physically present in the State during the period in which the tax or regulation is imposed."

The law is intended to stop regulatory practices like what farmers have seen in Massachusetts, where voters in November adopted Question 3. The law, which won't take effect for at least a couple years, bans "the sale of eggs, veal, or pork of a farm animal confined in spaces that prevent the animal from lying down, standing up, extending its limbs, or turning around." The law applies not just to farms in Massachusetts but also to "farms located in other states," notes one recent report. Food policy expert Baylen Linnekin takes a closer look.

Photo Credit: Yotrak / Dreamstime


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