Bills filed in the waning days of the odd-year legislative session are often considered throw-away bills — filed weeks after deadlines for committee hearings and passage in the current year, most of them are left in the dustbin when the even-year session comes around. But they can provide some useful insight into the workings of the minds of the legislators who file them — in terms of what their ideology is or who they feel they need to appease.
Mayer’s State Rep. Ernie Leidiger was listed as an author on two bills to be introduced today — H.F. 1833 and H.F. 1834 — which are, well, interesting. Both bills are chief authored by freshman Rep. Jim Newberger (R-Becker).
H.F. 1833 is designed to protect Minnesota from the scourge of United Nations Agenda 21. To most of the world, Agenda 21 is a non-binding, voluntarily implemented United Nations effort to encourage sustainable development practices. The practical impact of such efforts have been uncontroversial and common-sense things like state or county level requirements for comprehensive land use plans for local governments and ENERGYSTAR ratings for applicances. But to a few, it’s something far more sinister: the end of America as we know it. Glenn Beck, for instance, has turned Agenda 21 resistance into its own cottage industry — tying all his media platforms to it. And, sadly, it’s not just talk radio blowhards getting in on the act. Bluestem Prairie’s Sally Jo Sorensen has been on Minnesota links to this movement — see here and here. Newberger himself has long been a proponent of such ideology, as documented here. Even State Rep. Cindy Pugh (R-Chanhassen) has gotten in on the act, back in her SW Metro Tea Party days. (Incidentally, the SW Metro Tea Party will be holding another Agenda 21 session next week –postponed from April.)
Meanwhile, H.F. 1834 is a resolution designed to restore what proponents see as the rightful purpose of the federal government as limited by the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution. Followers of this ideology — known by some as “Tenthers” — believe that many of the things the federal government does today, including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, veterans programs, and federal drug enforcement, are not valid. This is milder version of legislation from last session that sought to give the state the right to nullify federal laws that were judged by the Legislature to be outside of its purview. The nullification issue, though, has long been settled from a legal perspective, however, and was settled once and for all by the Civil War.
After a fairly quiet session that seemed to start productively with his working with county elected officials on transportation issues, it’s too bad that Leidiger hasn’t been able to contains these extreme urges and find ways to work to move productive legislation through the House.
[Photo courtesy Wikipedia, of recommended headgear for Agenda 21 conspiracy buffs and Tenthers.]