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Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)
Rep. Steve King has a long history of being
competely freaking nuts
 
Some background: California (my own state, although I mean that in the locational sense, not the possessive sense, but you already knew that) recently passed a very communist-sounding law regarding the living conditions of egg-laying chickens. This was rather big deal, actually, and the most substantive part of it says that if you're a chicken farmer who sells chicken eggs (we have chickens, and they lay eggs, but we do not sell the eggs so are immune from this communist conspiracy for now), each caged bird in your operation must have enough room in its cage to stand up, spread its useless chicken wings from time to time, and possibly turn around. Recent research has indicated that many birds, chickens included, sometimes enjoy facing a different direction from the one they were previously facing, so the voters of California said what the hell, let's let the momma chickens at least stand up and turn around before we steal their offspring, abort them into a frying pan and make a delicious meal from them. We're not exactly PETA or anything, but we're willing to pay an extra half-penny per egg in order to feel slightly better about the millions of birds living in tiny wee cages so that we can have a delicious breakfast without raising our own chickens (which is illegal in many places, which you may or may not have already known, but once again I digress).

It turns out, however, that there's a problem. The California regulation says all eggs sold in the state must meet these conditions. But a lot of the nation's eggs come from Iowa, and Iowa is represented in Congress by a fellow named Steve King, who you almost certainly have heard of because he is quite possibly one of the biggest assholes in the entire United States, elected or not. And Steve King hates chickens, because a chicken once tried to mug his grandmother, and he doesn't give a damn whether or not chickens in Iowa are allowed to turn to face other directions from time to time. If due north was good enough for that chicken's parents and grandparents and great-great-great-great-grandparents, it's good enough for that chicken too, damn it. But Iowa still wants to sell eggs to California, because money. That means that Rep. Steve King, defender of conservative liberteez, prime deciderer of the Constitution, has suddenly and situationally realized that the Commerce Clause is the bestest thing ever, and that conservative-spouted states' rights arguments can go right to chicken hell already.

Taking aim at California’s pioneering efforts to bolster animal safety, the House Agriculture Committee has moved to block states from imposing their own standards for agriculture products on producers from other states. [...]

The panel’s amendment to the farm bill was a response to a California law, which will take effect in 2015, that requires that all eggs sold in the state be produced by hens held in cages big enough to allow the chickens to stand and spread their wings. The amendment, if it becomes law, would prevent the state from applying this standard to eggs from other states.

Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican who represents the country’s leading egg-producing state, said he introduced the amendment because the California law and others like it “scrambles and creates a patchwork quilt of state regulations.”

He said that the California requirement violates the commerce clause of the Constitution, which gives the federal government jurisdiction over interstate commerce issues.

Now, keep in mind that because Steve King is very, very stupid, Steve King has only just now realized that different states have different laws about things, and he doesn't like it. Next we might have states passing different laws regarding guns, or automobile emissions, or you might have states actually testing the agricultural products of other states in order to ensure nobody is bringing in, say, oranges humming with the Urpean Deathmonster Eyelid-Burrowing Fruit Fly, Destroyer of Worlds. It was only a short time ago (by which we mean, every other time except this one, excepting a bunch of other inconvenient one-off times too, making it somewhat difficult to keep track) that the Commerce Clause was an abomination so horrible that the only pertinent question was how long conservatives would have to wait before the Supreme Court finally lopped that nasty part of the Constitution off, saving humanity. But that was then, and this is about chicken eggs, which is a serious fucking business.

And so we have it: Ultra-tea-partier Steve King invoking, of all things, the Commerce Clause in an effort to make sure that Iowa can still sell eggs from tortured chickens to California without California being able to do a damn thing about it. God Bless America. What's next? Will Steve King start demanding the interstate purchase of broccoli?

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