JEFFERSON CITY • The Missouri Legislature has approved a bill that seeks to block the implementation of Agenda 21, a non-binding United Nations action plan that promotes sustainable development.
The anti-Agenda 21 bill now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon, following the House’s final approval of the bill Wednesday night.
“This is truly a bill that’s going to help protect Missourians and their private property rights,” said state Rep. Lyle Rowland, R-Cedarcreek.
The U.N. adopted the voluntary action agenda in 1992. It was meant to address issues of poverty, management of natural resources, and other goals The United Nations initiative does not hold the force of law in the United States, but it has drawn recent attention from some conservatives who have pushed similar bans in other states.
The far-right John Birch Society, one of the leading anti-Agenda 21 advocacy groups, claims on its website that the plan will "curtail your freedom to travel as you please, own a gas-powered car, live in suburbs or rural areas and raise a family.”
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“Furthermore, it would eliminate your private property rights through eminent domain,” it claims.
Rowland, during a debate on the legislation last month, said the bill is about protecting property rights.
“Just because Agenda 21 hasn’t been approved by the federal government – there’s a lot of things that we get hit with that there hasn’t been any legislation passed on,” he said, suggesting that initiatives could come through the executive branch.
House Minority Leader Jake Hummel, D-St. Louis, compared the bill to legislation that would regulate “space aliens.”
Other Democrats questioned why the Legislature was spending time on that legislation and not other bills they deemed more pressing.
But many other Republicans have bristled at suggestions that the legislation is silly or unnecessary.
“This isn’t a far-fetched idea or issue,” Rep. Diane Franklin, R-Camdenton, said during the recent debate. “We have to protect private property rights.”
Rep. Jeff Grisamore, R-Lee’s Summit, said he believes there are ties between Agenda 21 to the Occupy movement and anti-Walmart sentiment.
“This piece of legislation is a very legitimate concern,” he said.
The passage of the anti-Agenda 21 legislation is among several bills the GOP-controlled Legislature has tackled this year that observers have sought to mock because of their right-wing ties.
The House passed a bill, which has not been approved in the Senate, that would ban the use of surveillance drones. Proponents say the bill will ensure privacy rights and have implied that it’s needed to keep the federal government from spying on Missouri residents.
Following the Agenda 21 vote Wednesday, the House gave final approval to legislation that targets the use of Sharia and other foreign laws in the United States, which Democrats also questioned.
“We’re talking about the boogey man in Sharia land,” said Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis. “It’s a waste of time. There is no boogeyman out there.”
It's unclear whether Nixon, a Democrat, will sign the bills, quietly let them pass or try to block the bills from becoming law by veto. Both were approved with slight veto-proof margins.