December 9, 2013
Citing public health and constitutional concerns, a group of law professors from universities around the country wrote a letter to Congress critical of Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) amendment to the House farm bill.
The “King Amendment,” as it is known, would prohibit states from imposing standards on agricultural manufacturing or production that are stricter than those imposed by other states or by the federal government, if the agricultural products are meant for out-of-state sale.
The law professors argue that the amendment is so far-reaching that it could invalidate numerous existing state laws designed to protect public health and welfare, and that it interferes with the states’ traditional power to regulate public health, safety, and welfare. This raises the constitutional question of whether the amendment interferes with the separation of powers between state and federal governments.
If passed, the professors write, the constitutionality of the amendment will be challenged and result in a prolonged court battle. Meanwhile, regardless of the amendment’s constitutionality, the impact of the amendment on the ground would likely be a “race to the bottom,” where the state with the most lax standards would control production and manufacturing in all other states.
The letter was not released publicly, but was obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle and reported on here.
You can download the letter here.
Categories: Farm Bill