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AG Nessel Co-Leads 16 State Coalition in Letter to Congress Opposing Legislation Restricting Interstate Commerce

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has partnered with Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul in leading a multistate coalition’s letter to Congress opposing the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act, a proposed federal bill that would hinder the rights of States and local governments to regulate agriculture within their jurisdictions and would negate many state and local laws even where there is no federal standard to take their place. 

The coalition asserts the EATS Act would deprive States of their authority to set standards for the production or manufacture of agricultural products offered or sold in interstate commerce when those standards differ from federal law or the laws of other States. 

In its letter, the coalition cites the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in National Pork Producers Council v. Ross, which rejected a challenge to California’s Proposition 12 – a law regulating the sale of pork products in California — based on purported extraterritorial regulation under the dormant Commerce Clause. The Court held that “[c]ompanies that choose to sell products in various States must normally comply with the laws of those various States.”  

The coalition’s letter makes clear that the EATS Act threatens laws that govern the safety of foods sold within a State’s borders. Constraining States’ sovereignty would harm residents who have come to rely on those important regulatory protections in a number of areas and would up-end the crucial balance of federal and state authority. 

In Michigan, the EATS Act threatens laws that govern subjects, such as cage-free eggs, flammability standards for cigarettes, restrictions on the sale of foods that are past their due date, and restrictions on the production and sale of foods that are not prepared in a commercial kitchen. 

“People rely on their state governments to protect them from harm when they purchase food and agricultural products,” Nessel said. “The Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act would hamstring the ability of Michigan and other states to respond to the needs and interests of their residents in meaningful ways. I’m proud to lead my colleagues in urging Congress to reject this legislation and protect our respective states’ ability to determine our own agricultural policies.” 

States have strong authority to adopt laws to protect the health, well-being, and safety of their citizens, including regulating the products and services available within their borders. Furthermore, States possess considerable police power to regulate matters of genuine local interest, even if they may impede interstate commerce. 

Attorneys General Nessel and Raoul are joined in the letter by the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. 


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