The Center for Media and Democracy today released a new report on the American Legislative Exchange Council, examining the extreme conservative organization’s powerful and growing influence in the states. The report identifies more than 450 bills introduced by state legislators that copied ALEC’s model bills, with West Virginia and Missouri leading the way with the most bills. Across the nation, 84 of these proposed laws passed.
Key findings about ALEC bills passing in states across the country:
- 117 bills to enact “right to work” for less laws, pre-empt local living or minimum wage ordinances, privatize public services, eliminate defined-benefit pension plans, or undermine the rights of workers to collectively bargain. Fourteen of these passed.
- 11 states introduced bills to prevent or eliminate local paid sick leave ordinances.
- 52 bills to create or tighten voter ID laws that reduce voter participation. Five of these passed.
- 139 bills to weaken public education by transferring taxpayer money to for-profit private schools and other methods. Thirty-one of these passed.
- 71 bills to make it harder for citizens to hold corporations responsible when their products or services injure or kill consumers. Fourteen of these passed.
- 77 bills that weaken environmental protections or lower state investments in renewable energy. Seventeen of these passed.
- 10 “stand your ground” bills that allow gun owners more latitude in using guns if they feel threatened. Two of these passed.
CMD Director of Research Nick Surgey spoke about the importance of exposing ALEC:
When ALEC was born, Richard Nixon was president. Gasoline was 40 cents a gallon and the minimum wage was $1.60 an hour. Forty years later, ALEC legislators seem to be hankering for this bygone era, pursuing an agenda to roll back renewables, expand the use of fossil fuels, and suppress wages and benefits for even the lowest-paid American workers.
Meanwhile, America’s working families are standing up and fighting back against ALEC’s extreme agenda. Thousands protested ALEC-inspired “stand your ground” laws with a “die-in” outside ALEC’s 40th anniversary meeting in Chicago today, while working family advocates such as Tim Burga of the Ohio AFL-CIO traveled to Illinois to protest ALEC’s broader agenda:
“Ohioans have seen firsthand what happens when shady corporate interest groups write the laws,” he said in a news release. “We saw an unprecedented attack on workers’ rights in SB 5 and an egregious attack on voting rights in HB 194. They both had ALEC’s fingerprints on them.”
Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, added:
Working men and women turned out in massive numbers not just from Chicago but from Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana and elsewhere, joining faith and community leaders to push back against ALEC’s anti-worker, anti-democracy agenda. Our hope is that this is yet another step forward in exposing this shadow organization and the extent to which their work harms families and communities across our country.