Sure, Congress Can Regulate Light Bulbs That Travel in Interstate Commerce, but a “Made in Texas, Stayed in Texas” Bulb…?

Michael Giberson

The Texas state legislature has passed a bill that affirms that a light bulb manufactured in Texas of materials predominantly from within Texas and sold for use within Texas would not be subject to federal law or regulation under the authority of the U.S. Congress to regulate interstate commerce. The bill further would commit the state Attorney General to defend any citizen of the state of Texas making a “Made in Texas” bulb who is prosecuted by the federal government for violating the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

The bill has passed both the state House and Senate, but not yet signed by the governor. The Natural Resources Defense Council is advocating against efforts to repeal or amend the EISA of 2007 (for example) and is opposing the Texas bill.

In part the bill reads:

relating to exempting the intrastate manufacture of certain incandescent light bulbs from federal regulation.

(c) In 2007, the United States Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act (Pub. L. No. 110-140). Section 321 of that act bans the sale of certain incandescent light bulbs in the United States beginning in 2012.
(d) The regulation of intrastate commerce is vested in the states under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution if not expressly preempted by federal law. The United States Congress has not expressly preempted state regulation of intrastate commerce relating to the manufacture on an intrastate
basis of incandescent light bulbs.
(e) The Legislature of the State of Texas declares that an incandescent light bulb manufactured in Texas, as described by Chapter 2004, Business & Commerce Code, as added by this Act, that remains within the borders of Texas:
(1) has not traveled in interstate commerce; and
(2) is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, under the authority of the United States Congress to regulate interstate commerce.

Full legislative information on HB 2510 available at the Texas Legislature Online website.