Monday, December 30, 2013

A Minor Musing About ALEC

Cory points out that Representative Betty Olson will carry some ALEC legislation against net metering. Politico has an interesting piece about ALEC's efforts to rebrand itself. Part of that rebranding includes a nod towards transparency:
As part of what it calls a move toward more transparency, the group has decided to post online all the “model legislation” it develops so that lawmakers, the public and the press will be able to see exactly where ALEC stands.
Giving voters a chance to see whether their local representative has had an original idea or is like a high school student buying a research paper online is a step in the right direction.

On the other hand, the Politico piece contains the following analysis that seems to put the organization in the proper light:
ALEC opponent Chris Taylor, a Democratic state representative from Wisconsin, says she joined the organization to be able to attend its meetings to see firsthand what she was up against. She said she was curious where certain bills introduced in Wisconsin had originated, including one similar to Florida’s stand your ground law.
“Sure enough, some of these come from ALEC, so I wanted to see what ALEC was about, and I have to say, I was both horrified and fascinated by the system,” said Taylor, who attended the group’s meeting in August. “It’s a three-legged stool: You have these corporations, the right-wing think tanks that are in every single state, and the third leg of the stool are the lawmakers who are tasked with going out and getting these laws passed, and in exchange they are promised campaign donations.”
Its neither shocking nor nefarious that right wing folks develop a group with a plan to advance their agenda.

The zeal, however, seems more problematic. It's ALEC uber alles. The article also links to a leaked document that points to an oath for ALEC state chairs will "act with care and loyalty and put the interests of the organization first." There doesn't seem to be any mention about legislators considering the needs of their constituents.

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