SACRAMENTO — California's egg-laying hens soon will come home to more comfy roosts.
Voters in 2008 approved a statewide initiative requiring that cages have plenty of room for the birds to lie down, stand up, turn around and fully extend their wings, starting Jan. 1, 2015.
Supported by 63% of voters, the measure applies to all chickens in California in commercial egg production. And in 2010, a state law expanded the mandate to cover any chickens laying eggs sold in California.
After losing several legal attempts to overturn the upcoming henhouse rules, farmers in the Golden State are busy remodeling coops and building so-called cage-free systems, said Debra J. Murdock, executive director of the Assn. of California Egg Farmers. "They are making the changes in anticipation of what it means to be an egg farmer on Jan. 1, 2015."
Meanwhile, out-of-state farmers aren't keen on the law. Their backers tried last year unsuccessfully to get
Cigarette tax-stamp sniping
The company that makes bestselling Marlboro cigarettes is trashing the high-tech tax stamps that California distributors place on every pack of smokes.
Altria, based in Richmond, Va., is fighting a citizen petition before the
"In our viewpoint, the technology is not very effective at all," and they are expensive, said spokesman David Sutton at Altria, which owns cigarette maker
State tax officials say the stamps are effective and they dismiss Altria's allegations as self-serving. Before the upgrade, the state Board of Equalization found counterfeit stamps at 27% of 1,200 inspected mom-and-pop stores statewide, said Chief of Investigations Randy Silva. Last year, it inspected 10,600 retailers and found that fewer than 1% of stamps were bogus.
The state economy may be better, but the manufacturing sector still lags the rest of the country, the California Manufacturing & Technology Assn. warns.
California ranks last among the 50 states in the number of manufacturing investments per 1 million people, the association notes, using 2013 data from Site Selection Magazine and the