ALEC Meets; Who Knew?

just in case legislators forget what to do

just in case legislators forget what to do

Corporate funded creator of state and local legislation goes largely unreported and ignored.

Last weekend ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) held its annual pre legislative session meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona last week. ALEC is funded by corporations and billionaires headed up by the Koch brothers. Like so many right wing organizations they tout a government friendly motto while undermining the very principles of democracy. ALEC is now one of the major vehicles used by the oligarchs to steer state and local governments to the liking of its corporate funders.

Of course, ALEC would be nothing without the useful idiots known as Republican lawmakers throughout state legislatures and county and city governments of the country. These folks are under the delusion that handing corporations their wish list of legislation is somehow good for our country. One need only look at the widening income inequality or the worsening climate to understand that it is truly bad policy.

Every year just before Christmas, corporations have a big fling for their useful idiots. At this event legislators have a chance to act like a bizarro Santa Claus as they get the wish list from companies and wealthy individuals who already own it all. These wish lists are designed for the wealthy to get even more while taking what little the poor and middle class have left. Sort of like Richie Rich goes to the inner city and steals the residents blind.

Since our corporate owned media never covers this event – heck they are there presenting their wish lists, too – and security is extremely tight so no outsiders can get in we have to rely on reporting by the one reporting entity that takes the time and effort to keep tabs on this under the rock lobbying group. Once again we turn to prwatch.org to try to ferret out what the rich kids want this year.

Here is an abbreviated list. Please go to the link to read the whole list. But be warned – it may make you puke when you think of the implications for you and your children and grandchildren:

ALEC Energy Task Force Working to Derail U.S. Climate Action
The “State Withdrawal from Regional Climate Initiatives” pulls states out of regional programs to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, which ALEC called “son of Kyoto” programs, and an agenda embraced by some ALEC politicians, like then-Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona (an alum ALEC) who did just that in 2010. The Environmental Priorities Act would establish a “council” made up of industry representatives–such as state chambers of commerce–to consider likely costs to corporations if a state implements new environmental policies; it’s basically a way for corporations to veto the public’s will and trump the votes of citizens to protect their air, water, and climate from corporate pollution.

The Environmental Priorities Act would establish a “council” made up of industry representatives–such as state chambers of commerce–to consider likely costs to corporations if a state implements new environmental policies; it’s basically a way for corporations to veto the public’s will and trump the votes of citizens to protect their air, water, and climate from corporate pollution.

ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Protecting Corporations from Consumers

In Arizona, ALEC will be proposing a resolution which states, “the civil justice system should be reserved for individuals who have experienced real injuries and actual losses.” This is rhetorical code for legislation restricting claims and damages for Americans who have suffered emotional harm like pain and suffering or future increased risk of injury or who may have to undergo medical monitoring after exposure to potentially harmful materials.

One of ALEC’s most notorious tort bills would bar Americans from suing if their loved one is killed or injured by an FDA-approved drug unless they could prove fraud, but defective drugs are routinely recalled because the FDA relies heavily on testing and assurances by drug companies. Big drug companies and their trade associations have been big ALEC funders.

ALEC is also scheduled to hold a secret vote on a “Statement of Principles on State Workers’ Compensation Reform.” ALEC’s proposed changes to worker’s compensation laws would make it harder for workers to get compensation for injury and narrow their medical and legal options. The resolution promotes legislation to limit which treatments, drugs, medical costs, and doctors are legally allowed through worker’s compensation programs.

ALEC is pushing legal changes to require workers to overcome a higher burden of proof in worker’s compensation cases and to remove any no-fault provisions in worker’s compensation laws—meaning workers that lose a compensation claim would be required to pay their employers legal fees.

This is just a starter list. Please read more at the link.

Remember these folks are working out of sight, behind closed doors, as anonymous as possible while they change the very fabric of our laws and our society. If we had a truly free press the reaction to such a group would be loud and negative. The very silence of most of our media tells us that they too are owned by the owners of our society.

Alec

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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