King Amendment to the Farm Bill Gives Feds Power Over State Regs

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
King Amendment to the Farm Bill Gives Feds Power Over State Regs

Rep. Steve King's amendment to the Farm Bill imposes severe restrictions on the power of states to enforce their own laws.

Touted by some as a “Tea Party favorite,” Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) has offered an amendment to the farm bill that would significantly reduce the sovereignty of states and is described by the Des Moines Register as being “focused on consolidating power in the federal government to a degree that would make members of the Politburo proud.”

The King Amendment, known as the Protect Interstate Commerce Act, takes from states the right to impose agricultural standards on products brought in from out of state.

Rather than empowering states to nullify unconstitutional federal acts, the King Amendment would, according to the Washington Times, “have far-reaching implications, nullifying a large spectrum of state and local laws concerning everything from livestock welfare to GMO labeling, restrictions on pesticide and antibiotic use, horse slaughter, child labor, fire safe cigarettes, shark finning, Christmas trees, and even the sale of cat and dog meat.”

Specifically, the measure mandates that:

the government of a state or locality therein shall not impose a standard or condition on the production or manufacture of any agricultural product sold or offered for sale in interstate commerce if (1) such production or manufacture occurs in another state; and (2) the standard or condition is in addition to the standards and conditions applicable to such production or manufacture pursuant to (A) federal law; and (B) the laws of the state and locality in which such production or manufacture occurs.

Put simply, if enacted, Rep. King’s bill would consolidate agricultural regulatory power into federal hands, taking the power from state legislatures where it constitutionally resides.

Although in many ways King has demonstrated his interest in forcing the federal beast back inside its constitutional cage, in this instance, he assumes that Washington, D.C. is better equipped than state and local lawmakers to set agricultural policy.

Many of King’s fellow lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have lined up to oppose the amendment.

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