By The PRW Staff on August 08, 2013

New Report Identifies 466 ALEC Bills in 2013 That Reflect Corporate Agenda

For Immediate Release: August 8, 2013

Contact: Harriet_Rowan@prwatch.org

Today, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) released a new report: "ALEC at 40: Turning Back the Clock on Prosperity and Progress." The report identifies and analyzes 466 American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) bills introduced in 2013.

ALEC 2013 report coverThis week, ALEC celebrates its 40th anniversary in Chicago. At this meeting -- as in all ALEC meetings -- lobbyists from U.S. and foreign corporations will vote as equals alongside state legislators to adopt ALEC "model" bills, which then will be distributed nationwide with little or no disclosure of their ALEC roots.

In 2013, ALEC is going to new lengths to hide its lobbying of legislators from the public eye. It has taken to stamping all its documents as exempt from state public records laws, dodging open records with a "dropbox" website, and other tricks. After Watergate, many states strengthened their laws regarding open meetings and open records, but real sunshine on government is anathema to ALEC.

"When ALEC was born, Richard Nixon was president. Gasoline was 40 cents a gallon and the minimum wage was $1.60 an hour. Forty years later, ALEC legislators seem to be hankering for this bygone era, pursuing an agenda to roll back renewables, expand the use of fossil fuels, and suppress wages and benefits for even the lowest paid American workers," says CMD Director of Research Nick Surgey.

In this report, the CMD identifies 466 ALEC "model" bills introduced in 2013, but pursuing a retrograde agenda.

Key Findings:

  • CMD identified 466 ALEC bills from the 2013 session. 84 of these passed and became law. ALEC bills were introduced in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2013. The top ALEC states were West Virginia (25 bills) and Missouri (21 bills).
  • Despite ALEC's effort to distance itself from Voter ID and Stand Your Ground by disbanding its controversial Public Safety and Elections Task Force, 62 of these laws were introduced: 10 Stand Your Ground bills and 52 bills to enact or tighten Voter ID restrictions. Five states enacted additional Voter ID restrictions, and two states passed Stand Your Ground.
  • CMD identified 117 ALEC bills that affect wages and worker rights. 14 of these became law. These bills included so-called "Right to Work" legislation, part of the ALEC agenda since at least 1979, introduced in 15 states this year. Other bills would preempt local living or minimum wage ordinances, facilitate the privatization of public services, scrap defined benefit pension plans, or undermine the ability of unions to organize to protect workers.
  • CMD identified 139 ALEC bills that affect public education. 31 of these became law. Just seven states did not have an ALEC education bill introduced this year. Among other things, these bills would siphon taxpayer money from the public education system to benefit for-profit private schools, including the "Great Schools Tax Credit Act," introduced in 10 states.
  • CMD identified 77 ALEC bills that advance a polluter agenda. 17 of these became law. Numerous ALEC "model" bills were introduced that promote a fossil fuel and fracking agenda and undermine environmental regulations. The "Electricity Freedom Act," which would repeal state renewable portfolio standards, was introduced in six states this year.
  • CMD identified 71 ALEC bills narrowing citizen access to the courts. 14 of these became law. These bills cap damages, limit corporate liability, or otherwise make it more difficult for citizens to hold corporations to account when their products or services result in injury or death.
  • CMD identified nine states that have been inspired by ALEC's "Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act" to crack down on videographers documenting abuses on factory farms. These so-called "ag-gag" bills erode First Amendment rights, and threaten the ability of journalists and investigators to pursue food safety and animal welfare investigations.
  • CMD identified 11 states that introduced bills to override or prevent local paid sick leave ordinances, such as the one recently enacted in New York City. At least eight of these bills were sponsored by known ALEC members. Although ALEC has not adopted a preemption bill as an official "model," ALEC member the National Restaurant Association brought a bill to override local paid sick leave ordinances to an ALEC meeting in 2011, along with a target map and other materials.

ALEC has faced increasing scrutiny since CMD launched its ALEC Exposed project in July 2011, making the entire ALEC library of more than 800 "model" bills publicly available for the first time. Since then, groups including Color of Change, Common Cause, Progress Now, People for the American Way, the Voters Legislative Transparency Project, and others have put ALEC in the spotlight like never before.

To date, 49 major American corporations have dumped ALEC, including some of the largest firms in the world.

Read the full report here.

The PRW Staff

The author, PRW Staff, is for short reports/compilations that are attributable to more than one staffer or for staff posts of guest reporters.

Comments

Not a comment about the article itself but its delivery.
The email from Center for Media and Democracy was routed by gmail not only to my spam file but highlighted with a red bar and a warning lable

- "Be careful with this message. Similar messages were used to steal people's personal information. Unless you trust the sender, don't click links or reply with personal information. Learn more"

While an automatic spam filter might decide the message is spam since I delete similar, in format, emails, that extra alert is something else.

Is there actually a case with phishers using prwatch-type emails to get info?

This is COMMON with Google. The WEB CRAWLER with PUT A RED WARNING on web Pages some PERSON has deemed "NASTY" Google has stated THEY HAVE TROOPS ON THE GROUND in SYRIA & MICRO-MANAGED the ARAB SPRING. Google is A GOVERNMENT AGENCY.

I just reviewed the ALEC report and find it interesting to note that absolutely no legislation from California was on that list. Guess California isn't as crazy as some people claim. Oh, that's right, only the right-wing radicals seem to think that.

Response to Donna's assertion that only right-wing radicals seem to think California is crazy. I would counter that it is left-wing liberals that think California is normal when chaptering into law (CCR Title 27) a risk assessment to consider a 1000 year, 24 hour storm event as probable or even reasonable. Certainly wouldn't want facts to get in the way of reality.

Scott Walker remembers creating jobs as assemblyman in Wisconsin . It was easy with ALEC. 32000 UNION public sector jobs. It is not as easy this time with out using your tax dollars. Scott Walker has created ALL Wisconsin`s budget problems working for ALEC. In 1997 Walker and Prosser as state assemblymen championed for ALEC with truth in sentencing telling the legislatures it would not cost a dime it was to give judges not parole boards the control over sentencing. Then Walker filibustered to stop sentencing changes after the fact misleading ALL the legislatures. With out the sentencing changes Wisconsin`s prisons quadrupled over night. Most people sentenced to 2 years now had to serve as much as 6o years. As the Wisconsin Budget watch Blog shows . Stopping just a percentage of these long sentences Wisconsin would save 707 million per year. Wisconsin could have free tuition colleges. It shows Wisconsin has wasted 200 billion if you add the numbers to the state budget since 1997. Not including the building new or remodeling of 71 courthouses & 71 county jails & 273 police stations and dozens of prisons 28 billion plus interest. The total is over 70 BILLION plus the 100 Billion spent by social services to support prisoners families because the bread winner was a political prisoner as US Att gen Eric Holder explained. Then farming out prisoners in several states until the courts realized it was not allowed in the Wisconsin constitution. Wisconsin then hired 32000 union public sector workers to fill the jobs housing the prisoners from deputies , judges, district attorneys all owe Walker for creating there jobs. 32000 UNION PUBLIC SECTOR JOBS. This cost taxpayers over 3.8 billion or a half million per day to house these EXTRA prisoners per day in Milwaukee county alone. Wisconsin claims it has 24,000 prisoners compared to Minnesota`s 5500. Wisconsin`s corrections population is 104,000 with over 28,000 prisons in Milwaukee county alone . In 1995 Milwakee county had less than 1000 prisoners . Is Scott Walker moving Wisconsin forward ? This your reason for budget problems in Wisconsin. Big spender big government Scott Walker. Why does he not work for the people he is taking his check from the people ?
Wisconsin Budget watch blog has a great article on this.
392 NUNS signed Walkers recall petitions for reason. They are True Christians.