State legislators are corporate puppets for ALEC

Posted on October 10, 2014

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Many people are aware of – or have at least heard of – the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, as it’s known. But many don’t know,  or choose to ignore, exactly what ALEC is and does.

Of Arizona’s 90 legislators, 50 are ALEC members – among the highest numbers of ALEC recruits in the country.

So with all that representation, it’s fair to ask exactly how influential is ALEC in dictating Arizona’s laws? Well, let’s take Arizona State Rep. Debbie Lesko’s activity, for example. As Arizona’s ALEC chairperson, Ms. Lesko’s role is — according to the ALEC charter – “to introduce model legislation.”

But what, exactly, is “model legislation”?  ALEC representatives, especially Debbie Lesko, will tell you that model legislation is “a unique opportunity for state legislators, business leaders and citizen organizations from around the country to develop model policies based on academic research, existing state policy and proven business practices; policies that are the result of task force research and debate, and are intended as academic documents for individual study.”

ALEC disclaims that – “while these policies are meant to support pro-growth, state-based solutions – one size does not fit all, and legislators have the opportunity to determine, in consultation with their constituents, what works best for their communities.”

So why is it, then, that the same bills keep getting submitted, in different states all around America, all sponsored by ALEC members, and all with identical or nearly identical verbiage?

Don’t believe me? Here are some examples, just from Ms. Lesko’s personal bag of proposals:

  • HB 2588, titled “Undermine the Affordable Care Act,” was co-sponsored by Lesko. It is nearly identical to the ALEC “Health Freedom Compact Act,” sponsored as a 2011 bill by The Goldwater Institute’s Nick Dranias. This same bill was Implemented with near-identical language in Montana in 2011 (HB0312), North Dakota in 2011 (HB 1291), New Mexico in 2011 (HB0323).
  • HB 2617, titled “Defund Arizona’s Public School System,” co-sponsored by Lesko. It is nearly identical to ALEC-driven bills in Mississippi in 2005 (MS SB 2101), Arizona in 2009 (HB2074-431R – I Ver), Tucson in 2012 (SB 1047), New York in 2013 (NY S4099A-2013), California in May 2014 (CA AB 2422) and Kentucky September 18, 2014 (KY 14RS BR 898).
  • SB 1452, titled “Make it more difficult for Arizonans to sue corporations using class action lawsuits,” supported by Lesko. It is nearly identical to ALEC-driven bills in New Hampshire in 2010 (NH Court Rule 358-A:10-a), Montana in 2010 (Legislative Rule 23), New Jersey in 2011 (NJ Courts Rule 4:32-1), Florida in 2011 (Legislative Rule 1.220),  Alabama in 2011 (Legislative Rule 23), and Missouri in 2013 (MO RS 407.025).

Those are just what I could find in an hour on Google. But that’s some astoundingly specific “legislation-modeling.” It begs the question: Who is really writing Arizona’s laws, and how beholden to ALEC are the puppets … er … politicians who seem to parrot every word ALEC says? And who are your current elected representatives REALLY working for? And what actually goes on in those closed-door, never recorded steak-and-lobster “conference” dinners that people like Lesko keep telling you are “just innocent gatherings of a wonderful group of like-minded people to discuss ideas”? If these ALEC conferences are so wonderful, and so innocent, and so for-your-benefit, why are you never invited to them or allowed to know what goes on in them?

Through the corporate-funded ALEC, global corporations conspire with state politicians who then vote in shrouds of secrecy to propose state laws that govern your rights. This “model legislation” reaches into almost every area of American life and, ever-so-coincidently, usually directly benefit huge corporations. In ALEC’s own words, corporations have “a voice and a vote” on specific changes to the laws that are then proposed in your state. DO YOU? How many laws in Arizona have you had direct participation in writing?  How many have you written and handed to a politician who then  presents it as their own, even though identically worded bills are being submitted in dozens of other states as part of a grand agenda? Where do you think the verbiage for the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” ruling, and Mitt Romney’s “Corporations are people, too” came from?

If you’re a gullible fool who likes your state being run by a corporations-before-citizens lobbying organization, then you’ll believe ALEC’s explanation that it’s all one, big coincidence, or just another “vast, left-wing conspiracy.”

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