Apr 25, 2013
by Bob Sloan
Today there are numerous articles on ALEC and many of their legislative pursuits in states like South Dakota, Michigan, North Carolina. and elsewhere. In order to keep readers with an interest in ALEC up to date on stories related to ALEC, we’re posting this page with brief descriptions of ALEC activities and links to the articles or material(s).
Included in this update are links to measures or articles published by ALEC itself, showing their take on issues.
“The Republican-dominated board decided the state treasury should pay for the $100, two-year memberships for all 105 South Dakota lawmakers and for unlimited out-of-state trips to ALEC meetings by legislators who are members of ALEC committees.”
“Lisa Graves: ALEC is urging its members to no longer use the acronym. In a note to ALEC legislators and private sector members, ALEC’s spokesman said: “You may have noticed we are limiting the use of the acronym ‘ALEC.’ Over the past year, the word ‘ALEC’ has been used to conjure up images of a distant, mysterious, Washington alphabet organization of unknown intentions,” which he says could not be further from the truth, adding that “the organization has refocused on the words ‘Exchange’ and ‘Council’ to emphasize our goal of a broad exchange of ideas to make government work better and more efficiently.” This re-branding is a classic PR technique. Big Tobacco used it to try to distance some of its brands with negative consumer users.”
“RALEIGH, N.C. — A western North Carolina lawmaker received a stinging defeat Wednesday as his own committee voted down his proposal to freeze and repeal the state’s renewable energy standards.”
“ALEC has zero model bills to repeal incentives for coal, oil or gas companies, and rolling back state renewable energy incentives is one of ALEC’s national priorities for the next couple years. ALEC’s energy company members like Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, Duke Energy, and Peabody coal are hungry for a anti-renewable trophy after suffering a defeat in Kansas and now North Carolina.
“While ALEC’s anti-RPS bill was voted down in North Carolina today, ALEC legislators in Ohio are working to introduce a similar bill, comparing the renewable incentives to Joseph Stalin’s five year plan.“
Progress Missouri to release updated ALEC Exposed report Thursday (link unavailable at this time)
JEFFERSON CITY – Progress Missouri will release a detailed research report
Thursday exposing the influence of the American Legislative Exchange
Council (ALEC) in the Missouri Capitol. Through ALEC, corporations hand
Missouri legislators wish lists in the form of “model” legislation that
often directly benefit their bottom line at the expense of Missouri
families. Behind closed doors, numerous ALEC model bills are crafted by
corporations, for corporations. Elected officials who are members of ALEC
then bring their model legislation back to Missouri, where they claim them
as their own ideas and important public policy innovations without
disclosing that corporations crafted and pre-voted on the bills at
closed-door meetings with legislators who are part of ALEC.
The report will be made available formally at 1:00 pm on today, April
25th in House Hearing Room 7. Sean Soendker Nicholson of Progress
Missouri will moderate a short panel discussion featuring Representative
Kevin McManus; Trish Medina, worker & UFCW member; Carol
Weatherford, retired teacher; and Mike Diel of the Sierra Club. The panel discussion will
begin after the screening of the documentary “United States of ALEC,”
narrated by Bill Moyers.
HOME RULE HYPOCRITES – new group website from Florida
“ALEC and its legislative members have been responsible for some of Florida’s most anti-middle class legislation, and have been linked to HB 655 and SB 726. Even though they have ties to this legislation that completely blocks home rule and local control regarding employee benefits and protections, ALEC has been making the following statements via social media: “One size does not fit all. We should keep things local.” Rep. Precourt is the Chair of the ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force in Florida and Sen. Simmons has either attended at least one ALEC conference since 2010 and/or paid membership dues at least once from 2010-12 (ALEC in Florida Report).*
“As the federal court ruled on Wisconsin’s maps in February of 2012, the Center for Media and Democracy (publishers of PRwatch.org) revealed that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) had invitedlegislators to redistricting conference calls, based on emails obtained through earlier open records requests to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.
“The emails CMD obtained were not released to the lawyers challenging the maps. But they should have been. This failure to release all redistricting-related documents opened a new round of legal wrangling, with the court questioning what other documents Republican legislators and their lawyers had kept secret. Additional documents that should have been produced were found when Democrats took control of the state senate after the July 2012 recall elections and obtained access to the Republican redistricting file.”
“It’s worth noting that the American Legislative Exchange Council, a Koch-brothers-related group that creates “model legislation” promoting a radical, anti-regulatory and anti-tax agenda, is a fan of the voucher system.
“The group, which allows corporate interests to weigh in on model legislation before it’s approved by public officials, has several voucher bills available on its website.
“We’ll be interested to see whether any legislation that emerges from the skunk group mirrors ALEC’s work.”
“New reports that the politically conservative Koch brothers are interested in buying the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers — which include the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune — are sparking concerns from newspaper staff members that attempts to influence the editorial process in favor of their far-right political views may follow.”
The Koch Brothers and their company, Koch Industries are long time supporters of ALEC. Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC holds a seat upon ALEC’s Private Enterprise Advisory Council (formerly ALEC’s “Private Enterprise Board of Directors).
“To succeed you must “produce.” For Murdoch, distributive justice is the natural outcome of these purely commercial transactions. He quotes Arthur Brooks at the American Enterprise Institute who defines fairness as, “… the universal opportunity to enjoy earned success”. The key words here being “earned success.” Accordingly, producers are entitled to all they earn because if their product wasn’t successful, consumers are free to not buy their product. This would be a cruel argument to make in the presence of an elderly person having to choose between buying food or medicine. Nevertheless, in this view every sale in a free market system automatically results in a fair distribution of wealth. No other social factors should apply. In fact, to take from producers what they’ve earned to support the lives of less successful or non-producing human beings is immoral, in Murdoch’s view.
“The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is centrally involved with pushing environmentally destructive legislation on behalf of the fossil fuel industry, today complained that “Earth Day has been a largely somber event” when it should be “a celebration of the wonderful achievements humankind has made in cleaning and greening the planet,” wrote Todd Wynn, ALEC Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force Director.
“So why so sad all you greens? Don’t you appreciate how far we have come with ALEC’s help?”
– ALEC PUBLISHED ARTICLES –
Disinformation abounds in these articles published by ALEC at their “American Legislator” blog…
“One of the most prevalent claims, voiced particularly loudly by progressive groups, is that the United States has become a nation of have’s and have-not’s. Progressives rely heavily on graphs like the one below to show that the top earners in America have enjoyed greater and greater wealth, while the lower and middle classes have been left behind. In Tax Myths Debunked, Drs. Fruits and Pozdena take on this misconception directly.”
“Later today, the Senate is expected to begin consideration of a proposal that would give states long-sought authority to require out-of-state retailers to collect taxes on online purchases. Although proponents have pitched this proposal as an important reform to promote tax fairness and economic growth, we have been struck by how little actual tax reform the proposal would accomplish.”
“Although there will always be areas for improvement, environmental quality in this country has improved significantly. Technological improvements, increases in wealth that have enabled greater consumer demand for cleaner products and services, and sensible regulations that protect property rights have helped lead the United States to have some of the cleanest air and water in the world.”
“The Task Force on International Relations has concluded that ultimate approval for the pipeline is in the national interest, for the following reasons:
The Keystone XL Pipeline is environmentally sound. According to the Environmental Impact Statement released by the U.S. Department of State in 2011, “the Keystone XL Pipeline will have a degree of safety over any other typically constructed pipeline under current code and a degree of safety along the entire length of the pipeline system similar to that which is required in High Consequence Areas;”
construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline would add less than 1 percent of additional pipeline to America’s current 180,000 miles of pipeline;
transporting Canadian oil via pipeline is significantly less risky than other modes of transport, such as rail;
Canada will continue to develop Alberta’s oil sands with or without the Keystone XL, but construction of the Keystone XL will result in thousands of American jobs;
the Province of Alberta has proven itself a responsible steward of the environment, restoring Boreal forests to their original condition once oil sands mining operations in an area are completed; and
the Keystone XL pipeline will also transport oil from the Bakken fields of North Dakota, facilitating the already strong economic growth there.”