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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

MI, Feds to Investigate Possible Food Price Gouging

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Wednesday, July 26, 2023   

Attorneys general from more than 30 states, including Michigan, just announced a bipartisan effort to bring down costs and create more choices at the supermarket.

State law enforcement agencies are pledging to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new Agricultural Competition Partnership to investigate price gouging in the food industry.

Teresa Murray, consumer watchdog with the Public Interest Research Group, said while recent inflation spikes have been a factor, it is worth taking a closer look.

"We very much believe in a free market," Murray stated. "But not when it comes to crossing the line of trying to take advantage of individuals and families who are just trying to feed their kids."

Beyond price structures, the USDA noted states will also be on the lookout for conflicts of interest, misuse of intellectual property, and anticompetitive barriers across the food and agriculture supply chains. Business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce oppose the move, calling it an "overreach."

Murray pointed out while there have been rumblings about these issues, it is hard to go into a grocery store, observe higher prices, and know for sure whether corporate greed is at play.

"What are the manufacturing costs? What are the labor costs, which probably have gone up? What are the supply-chain costs? What are the distribution costs?" Murray outlined. "And then where, at the end, is there a profit, and is anybody along the way taking advantage of the situation?"

Murray added there is no real federal statute addressing price gouging, so state enforcement will be important. Michigan law makes it a crime to price gouge during an emergency, but not all states have similar protections.


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