Mars and Arizona Public Service Dump ALEC

The seventh and eighth corporations to publicly state that they cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are candy-maker Mars and the Arizona Public Service Company (APS), Arizona's largest electric utility. Mars had been an exhibitor at ALEC's 2011 annual meeting in New Orleans. Mars is the maker of Skittles, the snack Trayvon Martin had purchased before he was shot by George Zimmerman, whose arrest was delayed due to an NRA-backed gun law that became an ALEC "model" bill.

Arizona SkittlesAPS had been a member of ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force, which adopted such "model" bills as the "State Withdrawal from Regional Climate Initiatives Act" and the "State Data Quality Act." News of it breaking ties with ALEC comes on the heels of a new updated report on ALEC in Arizona published by People for the American Way, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), Common Cause and ProgressNow.

Mars announced in an email to reporters, "Earlier this year, Mars, Incorporated reviewed all of its trade associations and sponsorships and decided not to renew the ALEC membership in 2012." APS' pledge not to renew its ALEC membership was announced today in the Arizona Capital Times. Color of Change has been urging a number of companies like Mars to leave ALEC, and today applauded the companies' decisions to "place the integrity of their brands above association with a shadowy policy group."

Mars and APS join Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft Foods, Intuit, McDonald's and Wendy's in their decision to distance themselves from ALEC's extreme agenda.

CMD has asked supporters to send letters to ALEC corporate leaders asking them to cut ties with ALEC in the wake of the tragic shooting of Martin, a Florida high school student. Concerned citizens can click here to tell ALEC companies to stand down.

Correction: This article originally stated that Sean Piazza is a Mars spokesperson. He is not. The quoted statement is an official Mars statement on ALEC.