Proposed New Law is "Anti-Knowledge," Says UN Association of Oklahoma City
The Oklahoma City chapter of the United Nations Association, a non-profit group that advocates for American leadership in the UN, is bringing attention to Senate Bill 23 which is up for consideration in the 2013 session of the Oklahoma State Legislature. As an organization that encourages knowledge proliferation, this is a legitimate concern because of the Anti-Knowledge aspects of the proposed new law.
Background: Senate Bill 23 has been filed in the Oklahoma State Legislature by State Senator Patrick Anderson. The measure has received attention in several news articles because of its focus on the recommendations of the final report of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), which the proposed law refers to as "Agenda 21."
"The potential consequences of Senate Bill 23 go far beyond the recommendations of the UNCED report," said Bill Bryant, President of the Oklahoma City chapter of the UNA.
Senate Bill 23 would prohibit public libraries from acquiring books and journals from any agency of the United Nations. State universities would be barred from purchasing data sets from the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and many other UN organizations. The limitations on commerce with UN agencies would also apply to public libraries, local health departments, cities, counties, and towns.
Senate Bill 23 would have a heavy-handed impact on state agencies, universities, and local governments that are struggling with real-world issues like drought, pest management, health promotion, and so on. It would have an inevitable effect on teachers, students and researchers who frequently rely on UN publications for data on a broad range of topics.
Bryant explained the UN Association's opposition to Senate Bill 23 by referring to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration recognizes that all people have the right to 'receive and impart information and ideas regardless of frontiers.
"This suggests to us that the State of Oklahoma should not prohibit the people of our state from benefiting from the knowledge of global experts. At a time when the state of Oklahoma aspires to be a global leader in science, technology, and agriculture, it makes no sense for us to bar valuable knowledge resources from our schools, libraries and universities. Intellectual freedom helps to drive social and technological progress. We don't want to give that up," he concluded.
The United Nations Association is a membership organization dedicated to inform, inspire, and mobilize the American people to support the ideals and vital work of the United Nations. For more information on the UN Association of OKC and their activities, please visit www.una-okc.org .... .
For more background on Senate Bill 23, see the "Archive" section of this blog. Refer to articles published in November and December, 2012: "The UN and Property Rights," "Consequences," "More Testimony," and "Criticisms Continue."