Occupy groups around the country will hold direct actions against corporations that support ALEC on February 29th.
The protests will be the beginning of Occupy's re-emergence, they say, after smaller actions during the winter and facing police
disruption of encampments.
Who's ALEC? It stands for the American Legislative Exchange Council and it's one of the most effective tools used by corporations to control state and federal laws.
Occupy groups, organizing under the banner Shut Down the Corporations, sees ALEC as the "prime example of the way corporations buy off legislators and craft legislation that serves the interests of corporations and not people."
What ALEC Does
ALEC's writes templates for state lawmakers so they don't have to create their own bills. They boast that they produce over a 1,000 pieces of "model legislation" a year, and one in five becomes law. After they write legislation, they hand it off to lawmakers who introduce it as their own.
Their corporate backers tell ALEC what changes they want in legislation or which legislation they want to be introduced and then participate in crafting it.
ALEC's backers are the usual corporate suspects: the Koch Brothers, ExxonMobil, Bank of America, BP, Monsanto, Pfizer, Wal-Mart and many others.
When you see many states passing the same legislation - union-busting laws, restrictive voter ID laws, anti-climate change laws, anti-women laws - they've been writting by ALEC.
ALEC has been responsible for some of the most
anti-democratic, repressive legislation, including the anti-union bills which triggered massive protests in Wisconsin, and the anti-immigrant legislation passed in Arizona.
"ALEC's model legislation reflects long-term goals: downsizing government, removing regulations on corporations and making it harder to hold the economically and politically powerful to account. Corporate donors retain veto power over the language, which is developed by secretive task forces. The task forces cover issues from education to health policy.
ALEC's priorities for the 2011 session included bills to privatize education, break unions, deregulate major industries, pass voter ID laws and more. In states across the country they succeeded, with stacks of new laws signed by GOP governors like Ohio's John Kasich and Wisconsin's Scott Walker, both ALEC alums," says John Nichols.
Climate Change & ALEC
On the climate change front, ALEC produced model legislation, "State Withdrawal from Regional Climate Initiatives," to help states withdraw from regional cap-and-trade programs.
Last year, six states pulled out of the Western Climate Initiative and New Jersey pulled out of the very successful northeast cap-and-trade program.
And they've got a special section on their website targeting "EPA's Regulatory Train Wreck," which includes all the GOP talking points we hear about the "out of control" Environmental Protection Agency.
Last year, some 18 states introduced resolutions urging Congress to prohibit EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions (by defunding the EPA if necessary), to impose a 2-year moratorium on any new air quality regulations, and urging the federal government to complete a study identifying all planned regulatory activity by the EPA and its impact on the economy, jobs, and American economic competitiveness.
In 1998, ALEC developed a model resolution for states to pass calling on the U.S. to reject the Kyoto Protocol and banning states from regulating greenhouse gases in any way.
Action Against ALEC
Democratic lawmakers in Arizona and Wisconsin are seeking to introduce the "Alec Accountability Act" in their states, which would require Alec to register as a lobbying organization and reveal its donors.
Read ALEC Exposed: Warming Up to Climate Change
Read ALEC Exposed: A Nationwide Blueprint for the Rightwing Takeover
Visit ALECexposed.org to learn more and find ALEC-influenced bills in your state: