Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King introduced the amendment, called the Protect Interstate Commerce Act. It would put conditions "on the means of production for agricultural goods that are sold within its own borders, but are produced in other states," King wrote in the amendment. In essence, it would prevent states from creating laws that impact what's grown in other states and how those items are labeled. It would tie the hands of states, preventing them from being able to have any say about how U.S. grown products come into the state, or how residents are able to identify potential concerns.
While the language doesn't specifically identify genetically modified organisms as benefiting from the state protection, it has raised red flags in the non-GMO community, particularly as several states have GMO labeling bills up for consideration.
Advocacy group the Organic Consumers Association released a statement asking Congress to reject PICA: "The biotech industry knows that it’s only a matter of time before Washington State, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut and other states pass GMO labeling laws," the group wrote. "Rather than fight this battle in every state, Monsanto is trying to manipulate Congress to pass a Farm Bill that will wipe out citizens’ rights to state laws intended to protect their health and safety.” (In addition to state efforts, a federal GMO labeling bill was recently introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR).)
The original "Monsanto Protection Act" is part of H.R. 933, or the "Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013," which grants Monsanto and other biotech companies the ability to ignore a court's ruling and continue to plant GMOs for a period of time.
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Image: Nicholas T.