Who Hijacked Our Country

Thursday, January 22, 2015

ALEC: legislative “fiat by email forward”

I've heard ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) described as a “bill mill,” but I like John Oliver's description even better:  “fiat by email forward.”

While Congress is paralyzed, “laws are being passed at a breakneck rate at the state level; for every piece of federal legislation that gets passed, more than a hundred state laws go on the books....What's more, how is it that these venues for hyper-local arguments from various fiefdoms so often seem to tread the same pieces of legislation?"  [from the linked article]

That's exactly what I've always wondered, or more specifically, wondered why the public isn't more alarmed by this.  It's bad enough when congressional Republicans march in lockstep.  But when dozens of seemingly disparate states — “fifty individual experiments in democracy” — are passing the same boilerplate legislation in unison, it should be a red flag for anyone who's paying attention.

John Oliver describes ALEC as: 

“...a sort of shadow government for state legislatures, pushing the same agenda in state capitols across the country...the group is a coalition of conservative politicians and corporate interests that shares drafts of state legislation, in a system that should probably be dubbed 'fiat by email forward,' to advance the same laws across the country.”

Come on voters, pay attention damn it.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering some of the bills we passed in California that has the right wing fuming if ALEC is running things, I'd like to know what.


January 23, 2015 at 8:47 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: I'm sure there are leftwing organizations that push for legislation at the state level. Since these are laws I usually favor, I'm less aware of who's pulling the strings behind the scenes.

But I don't think anyone rivals ALEC when it comes to being extremely well organized, getting instant rubber-stamp approval from hundreds of state legislators, and still staying below the radar. They've had a lot more success in the red states, but they work with all 50 state legislatures. Stand Your Ground laws, ag gag laws, union busting right-to-work laws, and state laws designed to sabotage renewable energy development -- those are just a few of the ALEC-sponsored laws passed by state legislatures marching in lockstep.

January 23, 2015 at 10:13 PM  

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