OTHER VOICES

ALEC transparency

Posted April 18, 2012, at 6:04 p.m.

Chances are most readers have never heard of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a right-wing group that has fueled reactionary legislation across the country, including Florida’s notorious “Stand Your Ground” law.

That was the law that many blame for the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old boy who was gunned down by a neighborhood watch volunteer on Feb. 26. Trayvon was walking down a suburban Florida street having visited a convenience store to buy soft drinks and candy. …

Pressure has been brought to bear on a number of large corporations that help fund ALEC’s work, which allegedly promotes “pro-business” legislation in state legislatures across the nation. The ALEC staff drafts model bills that conservative, mostly Republican, lawmakers push in the individual states. Two of these companies, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, have resigned in the wake of the Trayvon Martin case.

The work of ALEC goes far beyond “pro-business” legislation like right-to-work laws and efforts to break public employees’ unions. Other model legislation that the group has advanced include bills targeting illegal immigrants and those that would limit voter participation by requiring photo identification cards. … A push for greater transparency of action groups like ALEC is under way. They deserve the glare of public exposure, and the corporations that fuel its agenda need to feel the heat from the citi-zens who are targeted by this vicious agenda.

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky. (April 11)

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