For decades, California, of all the states, has been particularly aggressive in attempting to regulate truckers (and other businesses) domiciled in other states but serving California businesses and consumers. ICSA members are familiar with California’s efforts to regulate truck driver hours of service, truck engine emissions, owner-operator status and other aspects of interstate commerce despite the Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8) of the U.S. Constitution giving Congress exclusive authority to regulate interstate commerce.
ICSA has been following a case now before the U.S. Supreme Court that has some parallels to truckers’ concerns. In National Pork Producers Council vs. Ross, pig farmers located outside California are arguing that the state can’t regulate pork products that are produced outside the state but consumed in California. The controversy stems from California’s Proposition 12 dictating that pork products sold within the state must be from pigs raised in “humane conditions” regardless of where the pigs are raised.
An example is that pig farmers must not confine sows six months old or older, or pregnant females raised for commercial breeding, in less than a 24-square-foot enclosure for each such hog. An interesting factoid is that California is responsible for 13% of all pork consumption nationwide but produces just a fraction of the pork consumed in the state. One report we read said that California has only 1,500 sows in-state for commercial breeding, while it takes an estimated 673,000 sows just to meet California’s annual demand for pork products.
It will be interesting to see whether the Supremes put lipstick on this pig or leave pork producers wallowing in the mud of thousands of pig styes in the other 49 states! We will keep you informed.