The King amendment, also known as the Protect Interstate Commerce act, has been included in Section 11312 of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (H.R. 2642).
The act developed by Representative Steve King from Iowa has met large scale resistance demonstrated by a letter sent by fifteen Republicans in the House to Representative Frank Lucas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, warning that King’s bill posed a potentially significant threat to the ability of states to set their own agriculture policies. The letter cited: “the King Amendment is very broadly written to nullify state laws that impose a ‘standard or condition’ on agricultural products and establish federal supremacy.”
Democratic representatives agreed with their Republican colleagues and signed a similar letter claiming that “the breadth and ambiguity of Rep. King’s amendment are striking. It would nullify state laws that impose a ‘standard or condition’ on agricultural products, and has the potential to repeal a vast number of state laws and regulations covering everything from food safety to environmental protection to child labor to animal welfare”.
The King amendment quite simply removes the ability of states to regulate their own borders and to impose agricultural standards on products brought in from out of state. This will have a particular devastating impact on the GMO labeling efforts by individual states such as Washington and Hawaii, in particular as the Federal Government refuses to label GMO products.
The king act specifically states as follows:
“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.”
In other words there will be no protection for livestock welfare, restrictions on pesticide and antibiotic use, horse slaughter and other agricultural efforts that consumers have fought decades to achieve.