Excellent all-in-one-place piece on ALEC in ProPublica:
This week, both the Los Angeles Times and The Nation put the spotlight on a little-known but influential conservative nonprofit that creates “model” state legislation that often make its way into law. The organization has helped craft some of the most controversial—and industry-friendly—legislation of recent years.
The American Legislative Exchange Council,ALEC, crafted a model resolution for states calling the EPA’s attempts to regulate greenhouse gasses a “trainwreck” and asking Congress to slow or stop the regulations, the Times reported. A press release on ALEC’s site says that at least 13 other states have passed resolutions
It calls itself a “policy making program that unites members of the public and private sectors in a dynamic partnership” based on “Jeffersonian principles.” Critics say it has devolved into a pay-for-play operation, where state legislators and their families get to go on industry-funded junkets and major corporations get to ghostwrite model laws and pass them on to receptive politicians.
I know the information on ALEC has been floating around for months on liberal sites, so it’s heartening to see that news outlets (LA Times, NPR) are now picking it up.
Here’s where you can find the ALEC-drafted bill your state legislator is introducing as his or her own work, “word for word”, in the case of the recent Arizona immigration law:
The Center for Media and Democracy has obtained copies of more than 800 model bills approved by corporations through ALEC meetings, after one of the thousands of people with access shared them, and a whistleblower provided a copy to the Center. We have analyzed and marked-up those bills and made them available at ALEC Exposed.
Looking at the categories, it’s easy to understand why monied interests are drafting this legislation and introducing it in state legislatures all over the country. The profit incentives are clear when they are privatizing public schools and destroying unions, or limiting the right of individual citizens to hold a wrongdoer responsible for money damages suffered, or gutting environmental regulations, or rewriting a state tax code. Those are obvious. What’s interesting is the voter ID bill. That really sticks out. No profit incentive there, so what’s that all about, I wonder?