Last year, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) attracted attention when reporters revealed Arizona's SB1070 anti-immigration law was pre-approved by ALEC corporations that stood to benefit from its passage. As ALEC's legislative and corporate members descend upon Arizona for meetings this week, a new report (pdf) shows that ALEC's influence in Arizona goes beyond SB1070 to include bills that suppress voting, attack worker's rights, privatize public education, and limit environmental protections.
On the same day activists began collecting signatures to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Republican legislators took steps that could allow the governor to reverse the state elections board on rules that would protect student voting and make it easier for recall proponents to circulate petitions. Democrats allege the move is a politically-motivated attack on the independence of the non-partisan board, made possible by an American Legislative Exchange Council-inspired law that ties the hands of state agencies and gives the governor unprecedented power.
Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce lost his seat in a recall election November 8th. The vote was widely seen as a referendum on Senate Bill 1070, the volatile anti-immigration legislation introduced by Pearce, a longtime member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
A new film from the Brave New Foundation outlines the role of the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council in new voter suppression tactics; the Center for Media and Democracy is one of the voices featured in the film.
Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state and federal laws that govern your rights. The so-called "model bills" of this corporate bill mill -- which has been funded by Koch profits and other corporations -- reach into almost every area of American life, including the right to vote.
Charles and David Koch, each worth about $25 billion, could be the most influential duo in the United States. These brothers have accumulated their fortune through Koch industries -- an oil refining, chemical, paper products and financial services company with revenues of some $100 billion per year. A new documentary by Bob Abeshouse on the Kochs illustrates how these brothers use their billions to manipulate some in the public into voting for their right-wing agenda and to push policies that strip protections for people's health.
Eighteen people were arrested Tuesday, November 2 for using cameras in the Wisconsin Assembly gallery, including the editor of The Progressive magazine, Matt Rothschild.
Republican efforts to inoculate themselves against recall hit a snag Monday when a moderate Republican announced his opposition to a plan that would permit recalls to happen in newly-drawn partisan districts.
Senator Mary Lazich introduced two bills on Friday that opponents say will rig recall elections in favor of Republicans. Democrats plan to start collecting signatures on November 15 to recall Governor Scott Walker, as well as state Senators who voted in favor of collective bargaining limits. Lazich's bills are the latest in a series of moves by Wisconsin Republicans to change the recall election rules in their favor.
A prominent global warming skeptic funded by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation has publicly reversed himself and now agrees with the vast majority of mainstream climate scientists who conclude Earth's temperature really is quickly rising. Richard Muller, a physicist and well known climate skeptic, did his own research and calculated that the land is now 1.6 degrees warmer than it was in the 1950s -- figures that match those produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA). Billionaire Charles G. Koch, founder of the Charles G. Koch Foundation, is a well-known funder of global warming skeptics. Together with his billionaire brother, David, the Kochs own the country's largest, privately-held energy company, Koch Industries, which produces significant greenhouse gases and fights efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the U.S. Koch Industries has long worked to undermine environmental protections and protect corporate polluters. Koch Industries is also a long-time member and funder of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a nonprofit group that helps corporate representatives draft and advance "model" bills that benefit their bottom line, and get the bills into the hands of legislators who introduce them in state houses as though they were their own ideas. ALEC also provides corporate-drafted "model" resolutions legislators can introduce that are aimed at thwarting efforts to address climate change.
Wisconsin's American Legislative Exchange Council-inspired voter ID law, which will make it harder for students and people of color to vote, is being challenged under the state constitution by the League of Women Voters.
The law requires potential voters to show a valid state-issued driver's license or identification card before they can cast a ballot, rendering many state residents ineligible to vote. Wisconsin, like thirteen other states, passed the law earlier this year based on the ALEC "model" voter ID bill.
Last week, the city of Philadelphia mandated paid sick days for "workers whose employers have contracts with the city or apply for city subsidies." Last month, Seattle also passed a paid sick leave ordinance. Connecticut passed a bill in June that will make it the first state in the nation to mandate paid sick leave for service workers. Food service workers are a special concern of such laws.
Workers in these locations will no longer have to come to work with the flu or other infectious illness, endangering the health of their coworkers and customers and exacerbating their own health.