Race / Ethnic Issues
Last month, a Pennsylvania court upheld the state's American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) - inspired voter ID law, but in hearings on appeal that state's supreme court has given the law a harsh reception. Might the Pennsylvania Supreme Court follow Wisconsin's lead and throw out the voter ID law before the 2012 election?
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona has asked the man behind the "show me your papers" anti-immigrant law in that state to show them his emails. An open records request to former Arizona state Senator Russell Pearce netted thousands of email records sent from Pearce's account that suggest Arizona's SB 1070, which was taken up as an American Legislative Exchange Council "model bill" but recently struck down in large part by the U.S. Supreme Court, was motivated by racism and xenophobia.
The U.S. Supreme Court has invalidated provisions of Arizona's controversial SB 1070 immigration law, which had been approved as a "model" bill by corporations and legislators at an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting before it was introduced in the Arizona legislature. The Court held that striking down the law's controversial "papers please" provision would be premature, but narrowed the provision's application and made clear that it could be challenged at a future date.
On March 29, a diverse coalition of advocacy organizations, activists, and national leaders protested the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) paid promotion of deadly "Kill at Will" legislation written by the National Rifle Association (NRA). The attendees delivered a letter to ALEC headquarters at 1100 Vermont Ave, NW in Washington demanding that the group disclose all NRA funding and publicly pledge to end its promotion of "Kill at Will" bills.
Organizing sponsors include the National Urban League, NAACP, ColorOfChange, Moveon.org, AFL-CIO, SEIU, ProgressNow, Center for Media and Democracy/ALECexposed.org, Presente, Public Campaign, Common Cause, People For the American Way, UltraViolet, Faith in Public Life, National Council of Churches, USAction, and more.
A Florida law that may protect the man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February is the template for an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) "model bill" that has been pushed in other states. The bill was brought to ALEC by the National Rifle Association (NRA), and fits into a pattern of ALEC bills that disproportionately impact communities of color.
Florida's "stand your ground," or "castle doctrine," law could prevent the prosecution of George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old "neighborhood watch" vigilante who shot the unarmed Martin as the teen returned from a trip to 7-11 with an iced tea and a pack of Skittles. The law, also pushed by its supporters under the name the "Castle Doctrine," changes state criminal justice and civil law codes by giving legal immunity to a person who uses "deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony." It also bars the deceased's family from bringing a civil suit.
A federal court will rule in coming weeks on Wisconsin's redistricting plan, after sharply criticizing Republican lawmakers for developing the maps under a veil of secrecy and shutting the public out of the process. Along with voter ID legislation inspired by an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model, GOP legislators in Wisconsin appear to be reshaping elections for partisan political advantage.
Late in the evening, on February 22, the Wisconsin Legislature turned back the clock gutting key provisions of Wisconsin's Equal Pay Enforcement Act (Act 20).
Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison), a long time women's rights advocate lamented: "It's like we're going back to 1912. We are fighting the same fight our mothers fought, just to be treated equally."
Senate Bill 202, authored by Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), passed on a party line vote. According to the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health, Act 20 sought "to secure equal pay for the thousands of working families who are denied fair pay due to wage discrimination based on race and gender." Specifically, the act was intended to deter employers from discriminating by opening an avenue to bring discrimination cases in state court with stiff penalties. Previously, victims were required to pursue lengthy administrative remedies through a state agency. SB 202 removed the compensatory and punitive damages for violations of Act 20, leaving it a toothless tiger.
South Carolina is again considering a bill from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to limit access to the ballot box. A nearly identical version of an ALEC voting bill is moving through the state Senate and comes on the heels of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) blocking South Carolina's ALEC-inspired voter ID law as discriminatory against people of color.
The U.S. Department of Justice has rejected South Carolina's voter ID law, which was inspired by an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model, as discriminatory against people of color.