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Friday, June 15, 2012

What is ALEC and why should we care?

For those who voted, there is a good chance that the candidate voted for was taking money from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Most legislative members are Republican.
Besides being a conservative group, ALEC goes way beyond jut lobbying. Legislators literally belong to ALEC and support its goals. Legislators and corporations join the group to jointly decide what issues to vote for and what bills to pass. Almost all of ALEC funding comes from corporate donors. They have task forces that turn out model bills to run through their houses or congresses. The organization has a chapter in most states.
According to ALEC Exposed:
“Participating legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills.”
The also want to privatize most industry and pass laws that help the Wealthy out;
• Center for State Fiscal Reform
• Cutting Crime and Budgets
• EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck
• Expanding the Law under the New Restatement of Torts
• Federal Relations
• Health Care Freedom Initiative
• International Trade
• Prison Overcrowding
• Restore the Balance
• Sunshine in State Attorney Contracts

They have their own lingo and they have found nice terms for people who are not always nice. Everyone has heard Mitt Romney call all the millionaires and Billionaires as “job creators” and how we can’t do anything to them because the nation’s economy depends on them. But ALEC works more at the state level, so that Federal Laws will have a hard time passing and overriding the ultra-conservative laws passed from below.
According to the Lawrence Journal World;

“Much of the legislators’ activity is paid through ALEC, but some Kansas taxpayer money is also expended. Last year, Kansas taxpayers were billed $9,132 to send legislators to ALEC meetings.
Thirteen House members and four state senators in 2010 went to ALEC’s annual meeting in Atlanta, according to state records. A group of state legislators is preparing to go to ALEC’s next annual meeting, which will be held next month in New Orleans.
The legislators who went to last year’s ALEC annual meeting were all Republicans and many chair powerful committees in the Kansas Legislature that deal with far-ranging policies.
The legislators that went are Sens. Ty Masterson of Andover, Ralph Ostmeyer of Grinnell, Dennis Pyle of Hiawatha, and Wagle; and Reps. Steve Brunk of Bel Aire, Pete DeGraff of Mulvane, Carl Holmes of Liberal, Lance Kinzer of Olathe, Marvin Kleeb of Overland Park, Forrest Knox of Altoona, Peggy Long-Mast of Emporia, Merrick, who was a House member at the time, Marc Rhoades of Manhattan, Scott Schwab of Olathe, and Sharon Schwartz of Washington. Two other House members who are no longer in the Legislature also went to the 2010 meeting — John Faber of Brewster and Deena Horst of Salina.”
For some people the politics of ALEC are appalling. But even worse is when a group like that owns so many politicians it ends up ruling the over the state while people thought we were electing legislators to do their job.

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