The most interesting debate of Monday night's House session was over a bill to extend the Local Food Advisory Council. Some GOP members say it's part of a UN plot to subvert US sovereignty.
The measure, Senate Bill 491, simply extends the Local Food Advisory Council's mandate for three years. It has the support of Republican Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler.
Nonetheless, two GOP House members argued it's part of a United Nations conspiracy, because the board's charter includes the term "sustainable."
Rep. Glen Bradley tried to amend the bill to remove the word from the panel's mission. He said the term "sustainable" is government doublespeak, intended to "lull the public into complacency."
Bradley warned his colleagues that "sustainability" is part of the UN's Agenda 21.
"'Sustainability' is a term that was designated [by the UN] in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 that means 'social justice' more than 'sustainability,'" Bradley said on the House floor.
Bradley found support from Cabarrus Republican Larry Pittman, appointed to replace retiring former Rep. Jeff Barnhart last fall.
Sustainability "is the efforts of the UN to circumvent our constitution to have the government more and more in control of people," Pittman said. "It’s not about maintaining a resource. It’s about getting the people more under the control of the government."
Bradley is vice-chair of the House Agriculture committee. The committee chairman, Johnston Republican James Langdon, spoke against the amendment.
"With all due respect to my colleague," Langdon said, "I think that the proper way to do this is to pass the bill as presented and continue to have confidence in Commissioner Troxler and those who are on the advisory council."
The amendment was narrowly defeated, 51-63, with most Republicans voting for it, along with Democrats Bill Faison and Dewey Hill.
Bradley then spoke against the bill itself, warning his House colleagues that mandating sustainability would be tantamount to endorsing the UN's Agenda 21. "It is a blatant violation of the US Constitution to become a party to international treaties that have not been approved by the US Senate," he cautioned.
Nonetheless, the bill passed easily, 82-32.
"Agenda 21," the UN's plan to respond to environmental change caused by human development, has become something of a bete noire among Tea Party and far-right conservatives, highlighted by luminaries like Glenn Beck and the John Birch Society. They argue it's a recipe for "depopulation and communitarianism."
The NCGOP passed a resolution against Agenda 21 at its state conference earlier this month. GOP gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory tweeted that he was "proud to support" the resolution.
The left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center calls the Agenda 21 controversy an anti-government conspiracy theory.