Shortly after the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) told the press "we really believe in transparency," new documents show the organization directing legislators to hide ALEC meeting agendas and model legislation from the public. This effort to circumvent state freedom of information laws is being called "shocking" and "disturbing" by transparency advocates.
-- by Brendan Fischer and Nick Surgey --
In anticipation of protests at ALEC's recent meeting in Oklahoma City, state legislators were handed a set of talking points that read "The American Legislative Exchange Council recognizes the first amendment rights of free speech and assembly, and asks that _____ do the same," apparently to prepare legislators for press questions about citizen activism. But ALEC didn't live up to those spoon-fed talking points: ALEC assembled a dossier of disfavored reporters and activists, kicked reporters out of its conference who might write unfavorable stories, and managed to boot a community forum critical of ALEC from its reserved room.
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.
The right-wing network funded by the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers is being revamped after the 2012 elections, starting with a new nonprofit called the "Association for American Innovation" that will act as a hub for funnelling undisclosed spending towards the Kochs' political projects. With ambiguous IRS rules and a deadlocked Congress, they might get away with it.
Six influential state tax studies by anti-tax organizations including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), are "deeply flawed," include "highly inconsistent findings" and constitute "ideologically charged pseudo-social science published to further the interests of corporations and rich people," according to a major new report released by Good Jobs First, titled "Grading Places: What Do the Business Climate Rankings Really Tell Us?"
What's on the agenda for this week's meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Oklahoma City?
Hard to say.
Despite ALEC trying to spin itself as a "transparent" organization, ALEC records have miraculously been disappearing from legislative offices and the organization is engaged in a dropbox dodge to avoid disclosure. But while ALEC legislators are meeting behind closed doors with corporate lobbyists, citizens will be rallying in the streets raising awareness about how ALEC's agenda favors large corporations at the expense of average Americans.
-- By Drew Curtis
More than forty bills introduced in the Missouri state legislature echo American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model legislation, and at least 60 legislators are ALEC members, according to a new report from Progress Missouri.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) suffered a big defeat in North Carolina today when a bipartisan group of legislators killed a bill to repeal the state's Renewable Portfolio Standards, which require utilities provide a certain percentage of energy from renewable sources. ALEC typically operates in the dark but has expressed rare public support for the North Carolina effort.
Bee populations have been declining rapidly worldwide in recent years -- in the U.S., they have declined by almost 50 percent just since October 2012, according to The Ecologist. The problem is complex, with possible culprits including certain parasites (like Varroa mites), viruses, pesticides, and industrial agriculture. But two studies published in early 2012 in the journal Science suggested a particularly strong connection between the use of a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids and the decline of both bumble bee and honeybee populations.
When the Philadelphia City Council passed a paid sick days bill on March 14, it was the second of three wins in a two week period for the movement to let workers take a sick day without losing pay or their jobs. But the Council then fell one vote short of overriding a mayoral veto, providing a case study in how special interests aligned with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) work to oppose these common-sense bills.