The influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Ohio runs deep, according to a new report released by Progress Ohio, together with the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), People for the American Way, and Common Cause. The report shows how Ohio's legislators are working in tandem with corporate leaders to deregulate key industries, privatize education and dismantle unions.
A guest post by Nick Surgey from Common Cause, originally posted on Common Blog.
When Florida Rep. Rachel Burgin (R- 56) introduced a bill in November calling on the federal government to reduce taxes for corporations (HM 685), she made an embarrassing mistake.
Today, hundreds of state legislators from across the nation will head out to an "island" resort on the coast of Florida to a unique "education academy" sponsored by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). There will be no students or teachers. Instead, legislators, representatives from right-wing think tanks and for-profit education corporations will meet behind closed doors to channel their inner Milton Friedman and promote the radical transformation of the American education system into a private, for-profit enterprise. (ALEC has claimed no corporate reps will be there but it has refused to let the press attend to see this claim for itself.)
What is ALEC Scoring on Its Education "Report Card?"
Little is known about the agenda of the ALEC education meeting taking place at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island. The meeting is not open to the public and recently even the press has been kicked out of meetings and barred from attendance. So to understand the ALEC agenda with regard to education, it is important to examine ALEC's education "scorecard."
Imagine getting a report card from your teacher and finding out that you were graded not on how well you understood the course material or scored on the tests and assignments, but rather on to what extent you agreed with your teacher's strange public policy positions. That is the best way to understand the American Legislative Exchange Council's 17th Report Card on American Education released last week.
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.
On January 16, the Los Angeles Times revealed that anti-science bills have been popping up over the past several years in statehouses across the U.S., mandating the teaching of climate change denial or "skepticism" as a credible "theoretical alternative" to human caused climate change came.
A guest post by Bob Sloan; read more from this author at the Daily Kos.
Indiana Republicans, who hold solid majorities in the state House and Senate as well as the governor's mansion, have once again taken up "Right-To-Work." Indiana tried passing anti-union legislation last year but the effort stalled amidst public outcry. Despite this, Right-to-Work legislation was one of the first pieces taken up by the GOP majority in the 2012 session.
With the 2012 legislative season and another episode of the Great American Campaign Circus dawning over the nation, Arizona may find itself the proving grounds for possible reform in the age of "pay-to-play" politics.
Confronted with a report by ProgressVA stating that through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) corporate lobbyists get access to legislators "behind closed doors," ALEC politician Bill Howell dismissed the claim and told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that all ALEC meetings were open to the public.
That would be breaking news to both traditional press and the online media that have been blocked from ALEC meetings and are increasingly being threatened with arrest.
"Mr. Hodai had a history at the conference--not a very pleasant history. He was considered to be a persona non grata..."
-- Westin Kierland General Manager Bruce Lange to Olivia Ward of the Toronto Star.
Evicting the Press, Part 1: Meet Mr. Black
Scottsdale, Arizona--A suburb awash in money and golf courses, set against the backdrop of the jagged mountains surrounding Phoenix.
I was sitting in a sports bar of the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa, swapping journalism stories with Olivia Ward of the Toronto Star on one of the bar's overstuffed leather couches. Over the course of an hour, the bar filled with conventioneers from the American Legislative Exchange Council's 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit (SNPS). (A new story on Westin's connections to other ALEC corporations is available here.)
My assignment was to cover the 2011 SNPS, taking place at the resort from November 29 through December 2. ALEC had refused to grant me media credentials. Nevertheless, I was a paid guest at the resort.
Tucson-based civil rights attorney Stacy Scheff believes that Westin Kierland may have violated federal constitutional law when they threw a journalist (and paid guest) out into the dead of night--due to the simple fact that the journalist evicted had written critically of (and was not liked by) the organization hosting a conference at the hotel. (A new story about these events is available here).