PSSST . . . Wanna Buy a Law?

From the December 5 – December 11, 2011 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek:

Psst . . . Wanna Buy a Law?

“When a company needs a state bill passed, the American Legislative Exchange can get it done” p. 66

How the American Legislative Exchange Council turns a bill into many, many, many laws.

By Brendan Greeley and Alison Fitzgerald.

Illustrations by Luke Best

The American Legislative Exchange Council, a nonprofit based in Washington, brings together state legislators, companies, and advocacy groups to shape “model legislation.” The legislators then take these models back to their own states.  About 1,000 times a year, according to ALEC, a state legislator introduces a bill from its library of more than 800 models.  About 200 times a year, one of them becomes law.  The council, in essence, makes national policy, state by state.

2 thoughts on “PSSST . . . Wanna Buy a Law?

  1. See also:

    Come Saturday Morning: Why Do Republicans Push ALEC-Written Bills Even After They’re Rejected?

    By: Phoenix Woman Saturday February 11, 2012 6:45 am

    Two weeks ago I discussed GOP state legislators cribbing from ALEC[American Legislative Exchange Council]-Written Cliff’s Notes. Last week, I talked about ALEC’s chief Minnesota legislator, Mary Kiffmeyer, and her long and sordid history of opposing Indian voting rights (and attacking standup guys like Tom Heffelfinger, one of the victims of the infamous US Attorneys’ Purge under Bush). Earlier this week, I noted twelve different ways in which Kiffmeyer, during her time as Minnesota Secretary of State, acted to make voting more difficult for people who aren’t white, rich, or likely to vote for Republicans.

    Today, I’m looking at why certain ALEC bills (such as the Minnesota anti-voter “voter ID” bill which, having been shot down by both an ACLU lawsuit and a Mark Dayton veto, is back for its third go-round as a ballot measure) keep getting revived even after being shot down for unconstitutionality and other reasons.

    For instance, there’s this Indiana Welfare Drug Testing Bill, which was withdrawn after being amended to include testing lawmakers. Yes, this is another ALEC Cliff’s Notes race-baiting “model” bill, and yes, similar bills have introduced in other state leges, including Florida’s (where it hasn’t caught many people).

    The Florida drug tests were suspended after a Federal judge blocked the law in October of last year. Which hasn’t stopped other state leges from pushing it, sadly:

    Georgia’s trying it.

    Michigan’s tried it twice so far — the first try at it failed, so they’re trying again.

    Maine’s trying it.

    And it’s soon to be revived in Minnesota by Steve Drazkowski, even though its first MN iteration — given to us by state senator Amy “Hester Prynne” Koch — didn’t survive last year’s legislative session.

    Speaking of Draz and his right-wing minders, the Freedom Club, a right-wing group funded by shadowy Primera founder and CEO Bob Cummins, has talking points all ready to go on Draz’ Right to Work amendment, as Bluestem Prairie reports:

    We must give some credit to the Rochester Tea Party Patriots for sticking with the agenda of the West Metro rich businessmen’s Freedom Club: “Employee Freedom,” the latest euphemism for the “right to work” euphemism. The RTPP post heartily endorsing Steve Drazkowski’s constitutional amendment notes:

    “One of our basic rights is the right to work at a job without having to join a union.”

    Somehow, we missed that part of the Bill of Rights. Or the notion of anti-unionism as a fundamental human right. And Bluestem isn’t alone, as this guy’s notions, like an earlier guy’s writing, suggest.

    The Freedom Club includes most of the usual Minnesota wingnut suspects, and their new hire is noted as a contact person on the PDF so kindly provided by the Rochester tea baggers: Ryan Griffin, recently laid off Executive Director of the Republican Party of Minnesota.

    The Freedom Club has decided that right to work (aka Their “Right” to Work You to Death for Less Pay) is its ONLY policy objective this session, taking their typically selfish 1% obsessions and, in finest Ayn Rand sociopathic fashion, pretending they are virtues and that we vile 99% should just take it and like it. Note that there are both Federal and State Freedom Club accounts, so lots of money is flowing into these efforts. (In keeping with the typically-contemptuous attitude of conservative Republicans towards transparency and ethics, Griffin seems to have neglected registering as a lobbyist. Gee.)

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