Added to the House farm bill by Iowa Representative Steve King are two amendments, one prohibiting states from regulating interstate commerce. Termed the Protect Interstate Commerce Act, the amendment appears to have California’s Proposition 2 in mind; Prop 2 was signed into law by Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2008, but is not set to become effective until 2015. The Humane Society of the United States backed Proposition 2 when it was on the ballot, and King targeted them directly in his legislation.
[Under Proposition 2] all of the eggs in California or coming into California would have to come from hens from doubling the cage size the industry has. That’s regulating the means of production [which] violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution which says the state cannot, but Congress does, regulate interstate commerce.
And I saw that common denominator with eggs, with no gestation crates for sows, with prohibiting the feeding of ducks and geese for foie gras liver, no stalls for veal calves, the list goes on and on, and so I introduced the legislation – about two and half or more years ago is when I first drafted it – I put it on as amendment a year ago in the farm bill and then succeeded again this time. And it prohibits the states from regulating the means of production of our agricultural products that are listed under the title of the bill.
And that will put an end to, I think, the Humane Society of the United States, whom I refer to as the “Vegan Lobby,” trying to tell us how to take care of our livestock. In the end, they really want to take meat off of our plate.
PICA passed in the House Ag Committee’s markup session, and seems well-positioned to survive the California delegation’s challenges on the House floor. If so, it will be a major step by the federal government to reassert its regulation of interstate commerce, and to disallow single states dictating regional or national policy.
But HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle says Rep. King is contradicting himself.
This is an unbelievable case of hypocrisy: a guy who claims to be a mainstream conservative, who cares about states’ rights, has a big, overreaching federal bill, or amendment, that would wipe away state autonomy, state decision-making, state processes that have been worked on for decades, and to substitute a one-size fits-all federal standard to basically wipe out what the states want to do.
Yes, I think it’s a terrible contradiction and that’s why I think he’s going to run into trouble with it when real conservatives and people who do have respect for states’ rights begin to turn their attention to his issue.
Pacelle says the contradiction is two layers deep; King simultaneously abandons the traditional conservative priority of states’ rights to curb them with federal legislation, while at the same time he opposing both state- and federal-level animal welfare and food safety laws similar to Proposition 2.
“So what he wants is not state laws or federal laws on animal welfare,” Pacelle says. “He wants no laws.”