ALEC, the corporate-funded group that's behind most of the outrageous right-wing state legislation that's spreading across the country, has a new target - or at least it's new to us.
They want to turn federal public lands back to the states so they can do unregulated natural gas fracking, eliminate endangered species protection, and basically open the land to corporate control.
When you see many states passing the same legislation - union-busting laws, restrictive voter ID laws, anti-climate change laws, anti-women laws, "shoot first/stand your ground" laws - they've all been writting by ALEC.
As we've written before, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) 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.
Gun manufacturers and the NRA ask ALEC to craft pro-gun laws, which have resulted in "stand your ground" laws, among many others. The oil industry asks for anti-climate laws, and ALEC grants their wishes with laws like State Withdrawal from Regional Climate Initiatives.
ALEC's backers are the usual corporate suspects: the Koch Brothers, ExxonMobil, Bank of America, BP, Monsanto, Pfizer, Wal-Mart and many others.
Today, Coca Cola and Pepsi Co. announced they would disassociate from ALEC and stop funding them. They worked with ALEC to oppose taxes like the failed 2 cent tax on soda.
Back to Public Lands
A handful of states are introducing bills that demand Congress turn over millions of acres of public lands to the states or face lawsuits, reports ThinkProgress.
Two weeks ago, Utah's Republican Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill into law demanding that Congress give 30 million acres of federal land located in Utah to the state by 2015 or it will sue.
Bills similar to the one passed in Utah have been introduced in Arizona and Colorado, and legislators in Montana, Idaho, and New Mexico are considering introducing legislation next year.
Many legal experts - including Utah's Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel - say a lawsuit wouldn't pass constitutional review, but they would cost states millions of taxpayer dollars. The Utah legislature has authorized the attorney general to spend $3 million on the anticipated legal fight.
alecexposed.org shows that ALEC drafted this legislation back in 1995, the "Sagebrush Rebellion Act," but it's getting traction now because there are so many extreme right wing elected officials.
People for the American Way is working to get ALEC's corporate members to leave the group. Sign this petition if you agree: