Motion to Amend

Here’s an update on House Bill 1412, the Anti-UN bill that is pending action in the Oklahoma Legislature.

I have asked Senator Patrick Anderson, the Senate co-author of the bill, to consider an amendment. 

The amendment is in the form of an addition to the bill as introduced. The purpose is two-fold: (1) To provide some prudent exceptions to the prohibition stated in Paragraph 1.C; and (2) To provide a definition of the term “nongovernmental or intergovernmental organizations accredited or enlisted by the United Nations.”

Senator Anderson has replied positively to this suggestion. An email reply from his executive assistant indicates that this suggested change has been submitted to the staff of the Senate Energy Committee “…so that a committee amendment can be prepared.”

The complete text of the proposed addition is given below.

If this amendment is adopted by the committee, it will go a long way toward addressing some of our most basic concerns about HB 1412. It won’t solve all of the problems with the proposed new law. (In fact, some very fundamental flaws will remain in the proposed legislation). But, this revision will help to safeguard public access to important knowledge resources of the United Nations.

Thanks,

Bill Bryant
President, OKC Chapter
United Nations Association of the USA

***
Existing Language in Paragraph 1.C of House Bill 1412 …

C. Since the United Nations has accredited or enlisted numerous nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations to assist in the implementation of its policies relative to United Nations Agenda 21/Sustainable Development around the world, the state and all political subdivisions of the state shall not enter into any agreement, expend any sum of money, receive funds contracting services or give financial aid to or from any nongovernmental or intergovernmental organizations accredited or enlisted by the United Nations.

***
Suggested Additions to HB 1412 …

D. Recognizing the fundamental state interest in promoting the unrestricted availability of knowledge resources, the prohibition stated in Paragraph C shall not apply to the acquisition of books, journals, articles, audiovisual resources, and/or data sets in printed or electronic form by any public library.

E.  Respectful of the principle of intellectual freedom, and honoring the right of all people to receive and impart information and ideas regardless of frontiers, the prohibition stated in Paragraph C shall not apply to any educational institution (public school, community college, state university, career tech school, etc.).

F. Acknowledging that the public health research and data of the World Health Organization (a UN agency) may provide valuable information to the Oklahoma Department of Health and to local health departments, the prohibition stated in Paragraph C shall not apply to any state agency nor to any political subdivision of the state which has a public health focus or any mission related to disease control, delivery of vaccines, and/or the treatment of chronic or infectious diseases.

G. Cognizant of the important reports, data, and standards that are published by the International Civil Aviation Organization (a specialized agency of the United Nations), the prohibition stated in Paragraph C shall not apply to the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission nor to any state agency or political subdivision engaged in activities designed to increase the safety of civil and/or commercial aviation.

H. Mindful that the people of Oklahoma are subject to the harmful effects of extreme weather (floods, droughts, severe storms, etc.), and recognizing the value of data published by the World Meteorological Organization (a UN agency), the prohibition stated in Paragraph C shall not apply to the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, nor to any state agency or political subdivision engaged in activities related to the prediction and/or mitigation of extreme weather events.

I. Proud of our state’s reputation as a major center of agricultural production, and desiring to protect our access to the incomparable data of the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization, the prohibition stated in Paragraph C shall not apply to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Food & Forestry nor to any state agency or political subdivision engaged in activities designed to protect the agriculture, aquaculture, and/or natural resources of our state.

J. Wishing to support Oklahoma businesses engaged in the export of goods and services, and recognizing the need for accurate and reliable information about foreign markets, the prohibition stated in Paragraph C shall not apply to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce nor to any political subdivision of the state which is engaged in activities designed to promote economic development.

K. Understanding that international tourism is a growing industry and hopeful of further developing Oklahoma as a travel destination, the prohibition stated in Paragraph C shall not apply to the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department with regard to exchanges with UNESCO (the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization).

L. Troubled by the profound problem of human trafficking, a crime of international scope and scale, the prohibition stated in Paragraph C shall not apply to any state agency nor to any political subdivision which is engaged in activities which may be supported by the resources of the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN GIFT).

M. Concerned by the chronic and pervasive problem of domestic violence in our state, the prohibition stated in Paragraph C shall not apply to the Office of the Attorney General nor to the Oklahoma Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board with regard to information and data exchanges with UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

N. Protective of our children and wishing to safeguard them from exploitation and danger in the workplace, the prohibition in Paragraph C shall not apply to the Oklahoma Department of Labor with regard to transactions with the International Labor Organization (ILO), a specialized agency of the United Nations.

O. The prohibition stated in Paragraph C shall not be applicable in the event that a determination has been made that a transaction (agreement, expenditure of funds, receipt of funds, etc.) with a nongovernmental or intergovernmental organizations accredited or enlisted by the United Nations is: (1) In the best interest of the state of Oklahoma or one of its political subdivisions; and (2) Does not violate the property rights of any resident of the state of Oklahoma.

P. The determination referred to in Paragraph O may be made by any officer or employee of the state or its political subdivisions during the normal course of their duties.

Q. Except as provided in Paragraph R, the phrase “any nongovernmental or intergovernmental organizations accredited or enlisted by the United Nations” shall mean that the General Assembly of the United Nations has formally recognized the nongovernmental or intergovernmental organization by the conclusion of a treaty, convention, protocol, or other written agreement. 

R. The meaning of the phrase “any nongovernmental or intergovernmental organizations accredited or enlisted by the United Nations,” as used in Paragraph C, shall not include: (1) Intergovernmental organizations to which the United States of America belongs as a member; (2) Any charitable or educational organization recognized by the Internal Revenue Service; (3) Any charitable or educational organization registered with the Oklahoma Secretary of State; nor (4) Any commercial or business organization engaged in lawful commerce within the State of Oklahoma. 

# # #

Advertisements

Eschew Obfuscation

Is a Recommendation the Same Thing
as a Requirement? In House Bill 1412,
the Answer appears to be “Yes”

At the United Nations Association, we’re in favor of intellectual freedom, good government, and the rule of law.

A basic aspect of good governance is the establishment of laws that are clear in their language and intent.

House Bill 1412 is a simple bill. It is only 2 pages in length. But, it uses murky, confusing language. It is full of undefined terms. As we have followed the debate surrounding House Bill 1412, we are slightly more clear about the purpose of the bill — but just barely.

Part of the problem with HB 1412 is its use of double-talk. That is, it uses words to convey a meaning that is not transparent or it uses words to convey more than one meaning.

Here’s an example. The proposed law includes this statement:

“The state or any political subdivision of the state shall not adopt or implement policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe upon or restrict private property rights without due process, as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to United Nations Agenda 21….”

The phrase “as may be required by policy recommendations…” is particularly problematic.

First, if there is a policy “recommendation” on any subject, it is not a requirement. It is non-sensical to speak about recommendations that require any particular action.

A “recommendation” is a suggestion. That’s all it is. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary says to “recommend” something is to present it “as worthy of acceptance or trial.” It is not the same thing as a mandate or an order or a directive.

So, if you’re a manager or a council member for one of Oklahoma’s political subdivisions (a city, town, county, public library, etc.), how would you interpret this prohibition in HB 1412? Are there any policy recommendations in UN Agenda 21 that require adoption of any certain policies at the level of a state or local government agency? Of course not! That’s the point that several members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives tried to make when HB 1412 was debated on March 13th.

Yet, if we follow the logic of HB 1412 proponents, they are opposed to any “recommendations” whether they are mandates or not. That’s the understanding we have by listening closely to Rep. Sally Kern, the House author of HB 1412. She says her bill is designed to “kick out” UN-linked organizations that are “encouraging” certain local policy-making decisions and “asking” Oklahoma cities to become part of a local environmental initiative. (See “In Her Own Words,” March 17th).

So, is House Bill 1412 re-interpreting the meaning of the word “recommend?” That’s a question that ought to be settled before HB 1412 proceeds any further in the legislative review process.

Second, why does House Bill 1412 use the wishy-washy phrase “as may be required….?” The use of this phrase signals that the concern about UN Agenda 21 policies may or may not exist. So, which is it? Are there Agenda 21 recommendations / requirements that infringe on our property rights or not? If there are statements in Agenda 21 that are troublesome, why doesn’t this proposed law explicitly identify them? And, if they don’t exist, then what is the purpose of HB 1412?

Third, what does it mean for a policy to be “traceable to United Nations Agenda 21?” What is the meaning of “traceable?” That’s an undefined term that is a loophole or a wormhole that we don’t want to go down.

As we say, we’re in favor of laws that are clear in their language and intent. House Bill 1412 fails to meet the minimum standard for good governance.

The Current Status of HB 1412

On March 21st, HB 1412 was assigned to the Senate Energy Committee. A hearing on HB 1412 could occur as early as March 27th or 28th.

If you’re opposed to House Bill 1412, as we are, please write or call the members of the Energy Committee.  Thanks!

The Editors Take Note

Oklahoma’s Largest Newspapers
Line Up in Opposition to HB 1412

The Oklahoman newspaper printed an editorial yesterday confirming our point of view on House Bill 1412. The widely-read newspaper titled their opinion piece, “Oklahoma Dems have reasons to gripe about some GOP proposals.”

The editorial focused on a handful of legislative proposals for which there are “some good reasons to be bothered.”

One of the proposals mentioned by The Oklahoman was HB 1412, the Anti-UN bill that is co-sponsored by  Rep. Sally Kern and Sen. Patrick Anderson.

Here’s a quote-worthy excerpt from the editorial:

“During the hectic final week for the House to consider bills that originated in that chamber, members found the time to approve a bill barring local governments from adopting or implementing policy recommendations established by the United Nations Agenda 21. Agenda 21 is a nonbinding, voluntarily action plan that deals with sustainable development. The bill also would ban the state from contracting with or exchanging funds with a nongovernmental or intergovernmental group accredited by the U.N.

“The vote was 67-17 in favor. Thank goodness that got done!”

That was a sarcastic “Thanks goodness.” Just to make sure we didn’t misinterpret their meaning, Nancy Musselman (our Vice President for Programs) called The Oklahoman and asked for a clarification.

Nancy says: “I was a little confused, so I called the paper and talked with someone on the staff. He said it was meant to to a sarcastic remark that possibly didn’t come across as well in print. I was pleased to hear that The Oklahoman recognizes how ridiculous the bill is….”

Judging by the online reader comments, a lot of other people share our pleasure with this expression of editorial sentiment.

We have previously posted items quoting from the Tulsa World newspaper.

It is nice to know that the major newspapers from our state’s two largest cities are lined up on our side in opposing House Bill 1412.

We hope our State Senators are paying attention.

In Her Own Words, Part 1

Rep. Kern suggests that her Anti-UN proposal 
is about prohibiting cities and towns from 
enacting building codes, zoning rules, and 
laws regarding property maintenance

Also, she is opposed to EPA regulations, 
the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, 
and other “radical environmental control.” 

We have been critical of House Bill 1412 because it is a flawed proposal — based on a faulty premise, with vague provisions, and certain to create more problems than it solves. At the same time, we have tried to avoid any direct personal criticisms of Rep. Sally Kern.

In fact, we have tried to go out of our way to accurately represent her comments and arguments about HB 1412. We’re interested in her opinions, and we take them seriously.

For that reason, we want to present a partial transcript of the floor debate that happened on March 13th when HB 1412 received a vote from the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Rep. Kern’s remarks are taken from a video of the floor debate that appears on the OKHouse.gov website.

“The Intrusion of our Government” 

The discussion of HB 1412 began with a series of questions that were posed about the purpose, intent, and potential consequences of the proposed legislation. Rep. Kern was questioned extensively.

The first question came from Rep. Mike Shelton of Oklahoma City. In reply to a question from him about the purpose of HB 1412, Rep. Kern explained:

“This bill is specifically dealing with the intrusion of our government into personal property rights that have been happening for the last 20 years and getting worse through the Agenda 21 of the UN, their Sustainable Development program that has been implemented into our own government in 1993 when President Clinton established the President Council’s on Sustainable Development and then President Obama in his President’s Rural Council in 2011.”

Rep. Emily Virgin asked Rep. Kern if she could provide an example of “some infringements on private property rights directly related to Agenda 21?”

Rep. Kern replied: “The International Property Maintenance Code is being used right now in some of the cities in our state that requires rental property owners to give a key to their property to the police so that the police can come in at will to check for illegal activity.”

“There have been numerous accounts of farmers and ranchers who are having individuals from the government show up on their property asking to take pictures, asking to do counts of their farm animals, their livestock, different things like that.”

Rep. Virgin: “What’s your proof that those events are directly related to Agenda 21?”

Rep. Kern: “It’s very easy to see the organization that is coming in and asking for these different privileges, if you will, and to trace them back to United Nations and the Agenda 21 program. And then, in ’93, when President Clinton established the Council on Sustainable Development, he implemented the program through 10 different agencies and they’re tied back, you can follow them, trace them through those different agencies.”

Rep. Kay Floyd argued against House Bill 1412 when it was first presented in the States’ Rights Committee. She focused on the particular language of the bill that prohibits cities and towns from entering into agreements with any “nongovernmental or international organizations” linked to Agenda 21.

Rep. Floyd: “Is there a list or some type of way for us to enforce these prohibitions…?”

“Who is accredited by the United Nations….? Who’s on the list?”

Rep. Kern replied: “You can go on the UN website, and you can find all the NGO’s there.”

“Plus, when a city is approached by a certain organization wanting to help them with different policies and things, it’s very easy to just look on the internet and find out who that organization — who they’re representing, where they’re coming from.

“So, any city attorney that cares to keep their city out of trouble, I suppose you could say, or to abide by this if it were to become law, can find out very easily.”

Rep. Floyd: “So, then, basically, any nongovernmental organization or intergovernmental organization that is listed on the UN website is going to be considered ‘accredited or enlisted’ by the UN….?”

Rep. Kern: “No… Only those that are seeking to establish and enforce guidelines that will impact and deal with the governing of the citizens of the city or that state.”

Rep. Jerry McPeak: “What proof do you have of this infiltration and contamination in 1993?”

Rep. Kern: “Well, you can go and look up the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, and there are 10 different agencies that are listed — uh, the Environmental Protection Agency is one of them. I should have brought that list. I don’t have it with me. But, there is definite proof. If you want to know it, it’s there.”

Rep. Ed Cannaday: “Is this in any way a treaty that is enforceable by law?”

Rep. Kern: “Uh, I don’t think it is. But, it is a program that the UN is pushing.”

This report concludes here … “In Her Own Words, Part 2” 

Charles Swanson

Meet this “Shot@Life” Champion at
our Spring Luncheon on March 23rd! 

Reserve Your Seat with our Online Form

We hope you will attend our Spring Luncheon on Saturday, March 23rd. Our friends at the Raindrop Turkish House are hosting us, and they always provide a great meal. You’ll have a chance to meet some interesting people. And, you’ll learn about the “Shot at Life” Campaign during the panel discussion portion of our program.

We think you’ll enjoy hearing from our panelists like Charles Swanson — pictured above. His co-presenters will be Juliet Abdeljawad and Priya Desai. Each of them is recognized as a “Shot at Life” Champion by the United Nations Foundation.

Here’s a brief biographical profile for Charles, as told by him:

“I am a unique community leader, political science / media student and social entrepreneur; In 2005 at a young age, I started businesses in the e-commerce sector and managed three online ventures. Then I was involved in the community to help out local charities. I have done many social good projects and helped raise over $500,000 for non-profits.

“In the past 8 years I have inspired the launch of the tablet industry through a tablet proposal For Apple Inc, social media marketing for companies and organizations, and have pitched The World Ambassador TV and other Television concepts to Discovery Communications, MTV, OWN and many other networks. I am also active with the United Nations Foundation as a Shot@Life Ambassador, World Vision as a Social Media Council Member, Smart Giving Ltd as a Director, Discovery Communications Producers Portal as a Member, and spend most of my time creating sustainable social business and media concepts.”

Shot@Life educates, connects and empowers Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries. A national call to action for a global cause, the campaign rallies the American public, members of Congress, and civil society partners around the fact that together, we can save a child’s life every 20 seconds by expanding access to vaccines. By encouraging Americans to learn about, advocate for, and donate to vaccines, Shot@Life aims to decrease vaccine-preventable childhood deaths and give every child a shot at a healthy life.

We hope you will choose to attend our Spring Luncheon on Saturday, March 23rd. Reserve your seat with our Online Form.

Find more details here …
http://una-okc.blogspot.com/2013/02/spring-luncheon.html

In Her Own Words, Part 2

Rep. Kern suggests that her Anti-UN proposal 
is about prohibiting cities and towns from 
enacting building codes, zoning rules, and 
laws regarding property maintenance

Also, she is opposed to EPA regulations, 
the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, 
and other “radical environmental control.” 

Here is a continuation of our partial transcript of the floor debate that happened on March 13th when House Bill 1412 received a vote from the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Rep. Kern’s remarks are taken from a video of the floor debate that appears on the OKHouse.gov website.

Rep. Cory Williams: “Will your bill have any effect on municipalities’ ability to do zoning, eminent domain, and things of that nature, as they see fit to help encourage pedestrian traffic and bicycle traffic and to lessen the impact the automobile is having on their particular community?

Rep. Kern: “Not unless they are doing it in coordination with say, ICLEI, the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives.”

Rep. Floyd returned to her line of questioning about clearly identifying which NGO’s are to be avoided by cities and towns under HB 1412. “So, how are we going to trace back?

Rep. Kern: “All a municipality, a city, a town has to do is look at the entities that are coming to them and do some basic research on them to see if they are affiliated with the Agenda 21.”

Rep. Floyd: “So, if you have one of the larger metropolitan cities…. there’s going to have to be someone who… I don’t even know how this is going to work. They’re going to have to visit with every single entity that wants to do business with the city … Are they going to have to do a UN check on them?

Rep. Kern: “Well, a city lawyer could do this easily. Or a secretary could do it easily to find out whether or not the entity they are dealing with is affiliated in any way with the Agenda 21.”

“They Put a Lot of Pressure on Them. They Encourage Them.”

Rep. Rebecca Hamilton: “I’m really seriously trying to understand this…. Where does the statutory authority come from for the United Nations to interfere with what we’re doing here in Oklahoma?”

Rep. Kern: “There is none, and yet they are doing it. And that’s why we need to take action against this.”

Rep. Hamilton: “By what mechanism are they doing it?”

Rep. Kern: “They’re doing it by approaching our cities and asking them to become a part of ICLEI, the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives. They have to pay a fee to join. Oklahoma City, Edmond, Guthrie, I believe, Norman, Tulsa have already joined it. They pay a fee, and then that organization which is affiliated with Agenda 21, the UN Sustainable Development, then begins giving policies and guidelines to those towns and cities, encouraging them, and asking them to implement them and even checking up on them to see if they are doing so.”

Rep. Hamilton: “So, it’s voluntary for them to get into the organization. If they aren’t doing it, what’s the punishment? What’s the enforcement against the city or town?

Rep. Kern: “The punishment, I guess you could say, is they put a lot of pressure on them. They encourage them to do it. They tell them unless you do this, you know, you’re not going to be able to reach your goals for your city and town and everything, your farm areas.

“It’s really, you know — I’m with you. I have a little bit of a hard time getting my mind around why in the world are our cities and towns doing this when the end result is abusing the property rights of our citizens.”

Rep. Cannaday: “If the cities that you mentioned here in Oklahoma are being inundated or being coerced into involvement that results in property loss or loss of property rights, aren’t there specific laws in the municipalities and the state that prevents such violations of such property rights?

“What laws have been broken, what municipal codes have been broken as a result of this? Could you share that?”

Rep. Kern: “A lot of them have to do with building codes — where you can build, where you can’t build, how you’re going to build, things like that. A property owner, they can’t build on their own property because it doesn’t meet the certain requirements that they’re imposing upon them, and things like that.”

Representative Cannaday asked for an elaboration of this point.

Rep. Kern: “Here’s what i’m talking about. When the EPA starts saying dust is a pollutant, and you need to cut down on your pollutants. How in the world is any farmer, how is any rancher, going to meet that standard? They’re not. so, We’re not talking about normal safety standards that our state is doing. We’re talking about radical environmental control issues that are going to put extreme hardships on you to maintain your property.

“It is happening all over the country, all over the world, and here in Oklahoma.”

“They’re Doing Research and They’re Asking Questions” 

Rep. Cory Williams noted that Rep. Kern has a tendency to speak about unnamed organizations and agencies that are supposedly responsible for implementing the UN Agenda 21 program.

Rep. Williams: “I’m just curious who ‘They’ are?”

Rep. Kern: “Well, a lot of the ‘they’ are people from the government, from the EPA, people who are working to implement the, uh, the species endangered act, different acts like that — the Clean Air Act, people who work for those kinds of — to implement those kinds of laws.

“They’re coming and they’re doing research and they’re asking questions and seeing if you are abiding by their regulations which are extremely hard to meet and getting more radical every day.”

Rep. David Perryman: “Why is this necessary if the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma already absolutely and adequately provides [protection against violations of property rights]?”  

Rep. Kern: “You are absolutely right. Our Constitution does, as does the U.S. Constitution, protect our property rights. Nevertheless, it is happening. And that’s why we need to, if you will, kick out, or make sure we don’t let come in to our state those entities that are subverting the constitution.

“The UN Agenda 21 Sustainable Development program is contrary to the U.S. Constitution and the Oklahoma State constitution, and that’s why we need this bill.”

Rep. Perryman: “Based upon what you said today, how can my building inspector for a small municipality in Southwest Oklahoma know that the photograph that it takes does not violate what you’ve talked about… and will not be a party to a violation of someone’s rights?”

Rep. Kern: “Only if his taking that picture is to be used to impose some environmental regulations upon that citizen in a way that hinders them being able to maintain their property, is it wrong.

“Only if they are doing it because they are affiliated with ICLEI or one of these other key NGO’s that are a part of the Agenda 21 program.”

“I Know It Sounds Weird.” 

Following the questions, each side was offered 10 minutes to debate the proposition. Rep. Mike Shelton delivered a stinging denunciation of HB 1412. He ridiculed the notion that cities and towns in Oklahoma are under the thumb of the United Nations.

For her part, Rep. Kern defended her bill in terms of the supposed threat from the United Nations as well as the alleged involvement of various government agencies.

Rep. Kern: “This is not a conspiracy theory. it is something that is happening in our country. It is happening in our state. Unfortunately, it is happening all over the world.

“This program, the UN Agenda 21 Sustainable Development, is all about taking our private property away from us, putting us in what they call ‘stack and packs’ so we don’t have our freedoms, we have to live in certain places. I know it sounds weird, but — hey — its true.”

“And its about our sovereignty. The representative from over there, from South Oklahoma City, I think it was, said, ‘What authority does the UN have to do this?’ They don’t, and that’s what’s so upsetting is that they are doing it to us, and we are letting them do it.”

“This bill is about protecting property rights…. This bill is to protect our freedoms. And not only, as I said, is it our property rights that are going to be violated, but our national sovereignty.

“You look at the UN webpage. It is all about establishing a one world government. And I want to be an American, folks.”

“Ranchers in our own state are having people show up at their doors wanting to take pictures. Why?
They want To see if they are violating The Wetlands Act … to see if they are violating the Endangered Species Act.”

“All across the country things are being done that are hurting farmers and ranchers and those of us even living in urban areas are being impacted by it.

“It’s in our government, and we need to be aware of it…. This is not a joke. It’s very real.”

Juliet Abdeljawad


Meet this “Shot@Life” Champion at
our Spring Luncheon on March 23rd


Reserve Your Seat with our Online Form

We hope you will attend our Spring Luncheon on Saturday, March 23rd. You’ll enjoy some great food provided by our friends at the Raindrop Turkish House. You’ll have a chance to meet some interesting people. And, you’ll learn about the “Shot at Life” Campaign during the panel discussion portion of our program.

We think you’ll like hearing from our panelists. Each of them is recognized as a “Shot at Life” Champion by the United Nations Foundation.

Here’s a brief profile of Juliet Abdeljawad. In the next few days, we’ll present a short bio for her co-presenter, Charles Swanson. To read about our third “Shot at Life” champion, Priya Desai, see this article.

Juliet Abdeljawad is one of the rising stars of our OKC chapter of the UN Association. Juliet holds a masters degree in International Studies from Oklahoma State University. Her studies focused on human development, society and education. She has a  strong interest in travel, American Foreign Policy, International Organizations and sustainable development initiatives. 

Presently, Juliet is employed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives, giving her an insider’s perspective on law-making and constituent affairs. She works as an assistant to two state representatives. 

Besides serving on the board of directors of our OKC chapter of UNA-USA, Juliet is a member of the National Women’s Political Caucus, and she is an alumni to Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority. In her spare time, Juliet  is a grant writer for khadarlis international. She is also a freelance writer for the Delta Women female empowerment group in Nigeria. You can read her blog entries here … http://deltawomen.blogspot.in/search/label/Juliet%20Abdeljawad

Juliet’s desire to alleviate poverty led to her master’s  level thesis on female empowerment through social entrepreneurship and her publication on a micro-finance entity in Alexandria, Egypt.


Shot@Life educates, connects and empowers Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries. A national call to action for a global cause, the campaign rallies the American public, members of Congress, and civil society partners around the fact that together, we can save a child’s life every 20 seconds by expanding access to vaccines. By encouraging Americans to learn about, advocate for, and donate to vaccines, Shot@Life aims to decrease vaccine-preventable childhood deaths and give every child a shot at a healthy life.

We hope you will choose to attend our Spring Luncheon on Saturday, March 23rd. Reserve your seat with our Online Form.

Find more details here … 
http://una-okc.blogspot.com/2013/02/spring-luncheon.html

The Struggle Continues

The State House of Representatives Approves 
House Bill 1412 by a Vote of 67 to 17; 
Now it Moves to the State Senate

The Oklahoma House of Representatives voted on House Bill 1412 at about 7:30 this evening. Floor debate on the proposed new law was animated as representatives from urban and rural parts of the state posed challenging questions to Rep. Sally Kern about her Anti-UN measure.

The debate against the bill was led by Rep. Mike Shelton. He was aided by Representatives Ed Cannaday, Kay Floyd, Rebecca Hamilton, Jerry McPeak, David Perryman, Cory Williams, and possibly others. (I wasn’t able to watch the entire discussion).

A complete roll call vote will be reflected in the House Journal when it is published — probably sometime tomorrow. .

The opponents of HB 1412 were well prepared to call attention to the deficiencies of Rep. Kern’s bill — the confusing language, the lack of definitions, the lack of evidence that any new law is needed, etc. Rep. Shelton mocked the premise of the bill, comparing the anti-Agenda 21 narrative to a fictional radio drama (“The War of the Worlds”).

The lop-sided nature of the vote suggests that representatives were voting along party lines — but, protection of intellectual freedom and good governance are not partisan issues. We will reach out to conscientious Republicans and Democrats as we seek a majority of State Senators to oppose House Bill 1412.

Please continue to watch this blog for more information as we continue our efforts to stop HB 1412 before it becomes law.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the struggle! 

Snake Oil

Proponents of Rep. Sally Kern’s Anti-UN Bill
Claim it is a Remedy for Many Ailments —
Actually, it Would Just Cause More Trouble
To Our Representatives in the Oklahoma Legislature:
There are two main problems with House Bill 1412.
One, it proposes to create a very broad-ranging addition to state law, and it does this without properly defining the key terms and concepts that are used in the bill. This is bound to create confusion if the bill should ever become law. So, the primary problem with HB 1412 is a lack of proper definitions. The bill has a definite purpose (protecting property rights), but it is vague about how this will be accomplished.
Two, the bill would prohibit political subdivisions — including state universities, public libraries, cities, counties, state agencies, and any “public entity” in our state — from purchasing knowledge resources from the United Nations. The ban would also apply to an unspecified list of non-governmental organizations (NGO’s). This legal restriction on public commerce with the UN and NGO’s would have a harmful impact on teaching, research, and intellectual freedom.
With regard to the vague nature of the law, the most prominent undefined term is “private property rights.”
The omission of a definition of this term is probably intentional, for understandable reasons. Any attempt to define the term would have the inevitable effect of limiting its scope. Volumes have been written about the concept of private property rights, and it would be difficult to craft a perfect definition within a single legislated statute.
Even so, the lack of a precise definition means that political subdivisions in our state will have an immeasurable degree of difficulty in implementing HB 1412 if it should become law. 
Some of this predictable difficulty stems from the manner in which HB 1412 has been presented for public debate. Proponents of the bill have asserted that HB 1412 would serve to protect landowners from a wide array of regulations — such as legitimate public laws and ordinances having to do with land use zoning, building codes, nature conservancy laws, air quality, animal welfare, public health & safety, to name a few examples.
HB 1412 has been sold as a kind of snake oil — a remedy for every ailment  (including some that don’t exist).
It is not at all clear what actual effect HB 1412 would have with regard to these types of public policies. The bill is not specific with regard to any of these subjects. But, it can be reliably predicted that well-meaning activists will attempt to use the proposed law to push back against any new state or local policies having any relationship at all to the broad topic of “sustainable development” (another term that is undefined in HB 1412).
In this regard, the legal consequences of HB 1412 are unclear — but the political ramifications of the bill are plain to see. The proposed new law is designed to enhance the informal authority of local activists who claim to be opposed to “Agenda 21.”
A second undefined concept in HB 1412 is the meaning of the phrase, “any nongovernmental or intergovernmental organizations accredited or enlisted by the United Nations.”
Pursuant to the text of the bill, all political subdivisions in Oklahoma would be prohibited from any public commerce with this un-enumerated set of organizations. The scope of the prohibition is truly undefined.
We can guess that the prohibition would apply to UN organizations such as the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Meterological Organization, UNESCO, and so on. The author of the bill has also identified a short list of NGO’s to which HB 1412 would apply. These organizations include:
 ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability (aka, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives);
 International Code Council (ICC);
 National Wildland Urban Interface Council. 
Beyond this scant list (which is not included in the text of the bill), the author of the bill has suggested that the full scope and breadth of the prohibited NGO’s can best be determined by consulting with local activists who claim to be against Agenda 21. She made this statement to the States’ Rights Committee of the Oklahoma House of Representatives:
“I don’t know, offhand, if they are actually listed,” she said, referring to the prohibited organizations. “…But, you talk to anyone who has anything to do with fighting against this Agenda, and they can rattle off to you all kinds of organizations, NGO’s, that are being used to filter this, bypassing state legislatures and going straight to city councils… to put in place the policies they want.”
That’s not exactly a model of legislative transparency, is it? In fact, it is further evidence of the political nature of HB 1412.
(According to testimony from Rep. Kern, her bill is designed to raise awareness and send a message to local cities and towns, etc.)
The second main problem with HB 1412 is the harmful effect it would have on teaching, research, and intellectual freedom in our state. This problem has been described in detail by the United Nations Association of the USA (Oklahoma City chapter) in the pages of our blog … http://www.una-okc.blogspot.com.
The problem originates in Section 1, Paragraph C, of HB 1412:
“…The state and all political subdivisions of the state shall not enter into any agreement, expend any sum
of money, receive funds contracting services or give financial aid to or from any nongovernmental or
intergovernmental organizations accredited or enlisted by the United Nations.”
The language of this prohibition is unconditional. It provides no exceptions. Potentially, it would prohibit all public libraries in Oklahoma from acquiring new books, journals, articles, data sets, etc., from UN agencies. It would have a chilling effect on research conducted by state colleges and universities.
For more information on the impact of HB 1412 on intellectual freedom, please see these reports on our blog:
In Conclusion.
There are other objections to HB 1412. For example, it is based on a false premise about the nature of Agenda 21 and the United Nations. It also undermines the authority of local cities, towns, counties, etc.; it trounces the concept of local control. It is unnecessary and provocative.
The main arguments against HB 1412, though, are the ones described above — that is, the lack of clear definitions and the inevitable impact on intellectual freedom.
On behalf of the members and friends of the United Nations Association in Oklahoma, I encourage you to vote “No” on this measure.
Sincerely,
Bill Bryant
President, OKC Chapter
United Nations Association of the USA

A Vote Looms Closer

Rep. Sally Kern’s Anti-UN Bill
Gets an “OK” from a Key Committee

HB 1412 — Rep. Sally Kern’s proposed anti-UN law — has been cleared to go to a vote of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, following a key vote in the House Calendar Committee this morning.

Rep. Kern’s measure was moved forward as part of a slate of bills. There was no discussion and no debate on the merits of her proposal.

Consequently, all members and friends of the United Nations Association are asked to call or contact their State Representative urging them to vote “No” on HB 1412. A directory of House members can be found on the okhouse.gov website.

A vote on HB 1412 is expected by next Thursday, March 14th.

In the meantime, we’d like to acknowledge a friendly opinion piece that appeared on the website of the Tulsa World over the weekend. It is titled, “The Phantom Planet and our Phantom Laws,” and it was written by Mike Jones, the newspaper’s Associate Editor.

Here are some excerpts:

“Over in the House, Rep. Sally Kern… has pushed through House Bill 1412 that also puts the kibosh on the insidious U.N. Agenda 21. She got a standing ovation from a few spectators in the gallery last week for her effort.

“Thanks to some screamers on TV and radio, the Agenda 21 brouhaha has received some notice. [State Senator Patrick] Anderson must have tuned into the talk-show rants predicting that Agenda 21 was nothing more than a ruse by the U.N. to force Americans into collective urban areas, thereby gaining control of all the farmland.

“Really, there are people who believe that.

“In fact, Agenda 21 is a nonbinding document that is a comprehensive plan of global, national and local action to preserve the environment. It is concerned mostly with bike trails, mass transit, sustainable farming and energy conservation.

“For the reasonable of you out there it means that the U.N. is not taking over the country or the world and has no intention of doing so. It’s a harmless and voluntary document.”

You can read the complete commentary on the Opinion Page of the Tulsa World website.

Please remember to call / email your State Representative … Thanks!