Monday, 26 March 2012
"[...] language virtually identical to Florida’s [Stand Your Ground] law is featured in a template supplied to legislators in other states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed organization that has managed to keep a low profile even as it exerts vast influence (only recently, thanks to yeoman work by the Center for Media and Democracy, has a clear picture of ALEC’s activities emerged). And if there is any silver lining to Trayvon Martin’s killing, it is that it might finally place a spotlight on what ALEC is doing to our society — and our democracy.
What is ALEC? Despite claims that it’s nonpartisan, it’s very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects: the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on. Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators. In Virginia, for example, more than 50 ALEC-written bills have been introduced, many almost word for word. And these bills often become law."
— Paul Krugman, The New York Times
"Let’s say you’re a state lawmaker, passionate about charter schools, and you want to turn this passion into laws that create social change. What you need are bills. And you want them fast — ready-made, just add water, written in language that can withstand partisan debate and legal scrutiny.
There is a place that has just what you want.
It’s called the American Legislative Exchange Council, a little-known conservative group headquartered in Washington, D.C., and funded by some of the biggest corporations in the United States — most with a business interest in state legislation.
ALEC has quietly made its mark on the political landscape by providing state governments with mock-up bills that academic and political experts say are, for the most part, tailored to fit a conservative agenda. In recent years, states — particularly those with new Republican governors and legislatures — have been flooded with ALEC’s model bills. Nearly 1,000 of them are introduced every year, and roughly one-fifth of those become law, according to ALEC’s own count. ALEC’s bills are especially attractive because they are written so they can virtually be copied and pasted onto legislative proposals across the land."
— Salvador Rizzo, nj.com