Last night I attended an educational presentation on ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) at the Ridgedale Library. The event was sponsored by the Northwest Neighbors for Peace. I had heard of ALEC, but was not very literate on what exactly it was. This presentation was eye-opening, but also way too short at 2 hours. What ALEC is, how is started, what researchers have been able to uncover about it, how it works, etc. were all covered. I know there are a lot of blogs and people writing about ALEC now, and I’m definitely not an expert, so I won’t try to explain it in detail.
ALEC is basically a group that is composed of private corporations and public legislators (who both have to pay for membership). The private corporations are given access to task forces where they write legislation with legislators and legislators are given access to websites that give copy and paste legislation that benefits their donor corporate members. This process is taking many of our legislators away from working for the public good and having them work specifically for corporate interests). At certain times of the year, ALEC may be putting hundreds of bills out to legislators to take to committees, at the federal level and all over the country at the state level.
I would encourage you to look up more information about ALEC. There were resources given at the end of the presentation to find more information. These included: ALECExposed.org, Common Cause reports, The Daily Kos, and The Nation and a blogger called Bluestem Prairie. There were other resources given, but the presenter was going so fast at the end as we had reached the 9 PM closing time at the library, so I didn’t catch everything on her overhead list.
This issue is of great concern to me, as I believe it is destroying our democracy, of government by and for the people. This is clearly making our country by and for the corporations. If elected, I would refuse to vote for ALEC legislation at any point that I come across it. Recently Governor Dayton vetoed tort reform legislation that came from ALEC. I am very proud of Governor Dayton for doing this. I hope more of our legislators will take this kind of a stand and I pledge that I would do the same.