Republican James “Micah” Van Huss promised to protect Tennessee from the United Nations when he ran for state representative in 2012.
Van Huss made that pledge at a tea party event in Kingsport last October and specifically spoke out against Agenda 21, a 20-year- old United Nations initiative advocating sustainable development.
The 34-year-old military veteran, who now serves House District 6 in Washington County, has filed two bills with intentions of keeping the United Nations out of the state.
One bill would prohibit any representative of the United Nations from operating within the state, while a second bill would prohibit the organization from observing Tennessee elections.
Van Huss, in an e-mail, said he authored the bills “out of a desire to reinforce our eroding national sovereignty.”
He added: “I feel, as a lot of my constituents do, that the United Nations continues to put forth agendas that would infringe on our personal liberties; that’s not the freedom that I fought for, and not the freedom that my buddies gave their lives for.”
He cited a news story noting that the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe sent a 44-member multinational delegation to the United States to monitor and observe America’s election process for human rights violations, voter suppression and election fraud.
Tennessee Democratic Party spokesman Brandon Puttbrese, however, said Van Huss’ bills are a prime example of the GOP-controlled legislature not working to create jobs.
“They are concentrating on bad ideas that distract our legislature from doing the important work of putting Tennesseans back on the job,” Puttbrese said.
When asked for a response to Van Huss’ bills, United Nations spokesman Farahn Haq emphasized his organization does not get involved in domestic legislation.
“In any country we try to follow a policy of noninterference with domestic legislative affairs,” Haq pointed out. “At the same time, we do work with the government of the United States, the federal government. ... Since its founding in the 1940s, the United Nations has had a strong and productive relationship with the government of the United States and we hope to continue to do so.”
State Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, has signed on as the Senate sponsor of Van Huss’ bills.
Last year, the legislature passed a resolution attacking the United Nations’ Agenda 21 measure as a “destructive and insidious” plot advancing “extreme environmentalism, social engineering, and global political control.”
Two Northeast Tennessee GOP House members, Matthew Hill of Jonesborough and Tony Shipley of Kingsport, signed on as co-sponsors of the Agenda 21 resolution filed by state Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland.
The resolution suggested Agenda 21 is being “covertly pushed” into local communities and also resolved that neither the U.S. government nor any state or local government is legally bound by the United Nations Agenda 21 initiative because it was never endorsed by the U.S. Senate.
Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam returned Brooks’ resolution to lawmakers without his signature.
House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Turner of Old Hickory suggested the Agenda 21 resolution was unnecessary.
“I don’t know what all the U.N. does, but they do some good things,” Turner told lawmakers the day the Agenda 21 resolution passed in the House in March 2012. “(Agenda 21) talks about sustainable growth but so does the national Chamber of Commerce Web site. ... Is there anything binding in that (Agenda 21) resolution? As I understand it, there’s nothing binding in there.”
Brooks responded: “We’re trying to say ‘We don’t want it to be binding to us.’ This is a counter resolution. ... We don’t like what we see.”
At its 2012 winter meeting, the Republican National Committee passed a resolution calling Agenda 21 “a disregard for American freedom, private property rights, and a key player in the leftist move toward a one world government.”
For more, go to www.capitol.tn.gov. Van Huss’ bills are HB 588 and 589.