The Guardian published a set of coordinated fundraising proposals from State Policy Network (SPN) members today that confirm many of these groups' intent to change state laws and policies, referring to "advancing model legislation" and "candidate briefings." These activities "arguably cross the line into lobbying," The Guardian notes. The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) highlighted these questionable political activities in its recent report, "EXPOSED: The State Policy Network: The Powerful Right-Wing Network Helping to Hijack State Politics and Government," as well as in a recent follow-up article.
"The taxpayers have been left holding the bag.... As a result of this I think there is going to be a lot more oversight." Those were statements made by Nevada Assemblyman James Ohrenschall in an interview on Vegas Inc. September 21.
CONTACT: Alex Oberley, 608-260-9713, Alex@PRwatch.org
Madison -- Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has taken the unprecedented step of asserting that a state legislator cannot be held accountable for refusing to disclose public records in response to a lawful open records request by the Center for Media and Democracy.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recently adopted a "model" bill from an oil-industry lobby group, that would limit the ability of states to negotiate regional "low-carbon fuel standards" (LCFS), a mechanism designed to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels. If agreed by states, LCFS could have a significant impact on the sale of fuels derived from Canadian tar sands in the United States, regardless of any decision the Obama administration makes over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
With immigration reform advancing through Congress, an anti-immigrant network funded by a small group of right-wing foundations is trying to kill reform by pressuring moderate Republicans and appealing to the party's xenophobic wing. The groups could stymie efforts by some Republicans to appeal to the country's growing Latino population by moving to the center on immigration.
State Senator Glenn Grothman, Assistant Majority Leader of the Republican Caucus, is leading the charge to protect consumers from Wisconsin's rapacious rent-to-own industry. Governor Scott Walker's $68.2 billion budget bill contains provisions that would rollback common sense regulation of the industry, which has been in place since 1985.
Members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in the Georgia Legislature are pushing a bill to thwart locally-owned internet in underserved communities, an industry-sponsored effort that effectively reinforces the digital divide. (UPDATE: HB 282 failed on a 94-70 vote on March 7.) If Georgia had passed the bill it would have been the twentieth state to eliminate community control over internet access.
Since the Center for Media and Democracy's launch of ALEC Exposed in July 2011, CMD has known that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its corporate funders are accelerating the race to the bottom in wages and working conditions for America's working families. ALEC has a raft of "model bills" to lower wages and slash benefits for workers, even one to repeal state minimum wage laws.
A majority of Visa shareholders rejected an effort to require the company to provide more disclosure about its role in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and related lobbying activities. Boston Common Asset Management, an investment firm focused on socially responsible investing, and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA), a religious organization that affirms the inherent capacity for good in human beings, filed a resolution to require the company to disclose all payments used for lobbying purposes, including payments to groups like ALEC. In all, over 100 million votes were cast in favor of the resolution -- 37% -- but that substantial outpouring of support for greater transparency accounted for less than a majority of the votes cast by Visa shareholders.
Just days before three people were shot in an altercation on a college campus in Texas, fourteen Texas State Senators co-sponsored a National Rifle Association-backed bill to prohibit colleges from restricting concealed handguns on campuses. The legislation closely resembles a "model" adopted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).