AG's office joins coalition in pro-farmer suit against Massachusetts

By Chris Dickerson | Dec 14, 2017

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office is seeking to protect Mountain State farmers and consumers by challenging a Massachusetts law that attempts to impose unlawful agricultural regulations on other states.

The AG's office joined a 13-state coalition in filing suit against the state of Massachusetts. The lawsuit targets a law preventing the sale of eggs, pork and veal in Massachusetts from any livestock not housed according to the newly established Massachusetts specifications – regardless of where the livestock was raised or the food items produced.

“Massachusetts’ attempt to regulate farming in other states violates the Constitution,” Morrisey said. “No state possesses the right to regulate another’s activity. Any such form of overreach must be stopped so as to protect the free flow of commerce.”

The coalition filed its lawsuit Dec. 11 before the U.S. Supreme Court, where the Constitution gives it original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and settle disputes between opposing states. 

Farms in West Virginia and its partnering states sell commodities as part of a national supply chain that reaches Massachusetts. That means the Massachusetts law will increase production and marketing costs for farm commodities nationwide, including those in West Virginia.

The lawsuit also alleges that Massachusetts’ law violates the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

West Virginia joined the Indiana-led lawsuit with attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

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