Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dave...we could say the same thing for Ohio!

From John Curry, February 16, 2012
Need a primer on ALEC, what they have done and what they are doing? it is ...... as written from an Iowan's perspective. Just substitute Ohio for Iowa .....something that many people already do!
Cedar Valley Voices: ALEC pushes pro-big-business agenda on legislators
by Dave Bradley · Op-Ed · February 10, 2012
Most of us have a preconceived idea that we took away from grade school civics that our local elected representatives act with local concerns at the top of their lists.
But as with many other things, money has corrupted our governmental processes, even at this level. Where once the major concern was crafting legislation that would address problems that arose while having the least negative effects on citizens, now the concern for at least one group is to enact legislation in states(including Iowa) that promotes a national agenda.
Working behind the scenes, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) pushes “pro-big business” legislation in state legislatures throughout the country. ALEC has been around for a long time, but only recently has the climate been ripe for them to flex their muscle. They have semi-annual meetings where state legislators and corporate big-wigs work on what they call model legislation for states. This “model legislation” is usually set up to change current public policy so that big business can have a much friendlier climate in which to operate.
States that have a Republican governor and a Republican majority in both houses have pushed hard to pass ALEC model legislation. These states are in the news quite a bit lately because the legislation has been so extreme. Wisconsin is the prime example with the passage of union busting legislation, public school fund strangling legislation, and of course the crown jewel- legislation to restrict the right to vote targeted at traditional Democratic constituencies. Other states that have passed similar laws include Ohio and Michigan while Indiana is considering more ALEC legislation. ALEC’s model legislation includes privately run prisons, privatizing libraries and privatizing municipal utilities.
Iowa has always been regarded as a sane and forward looking state in its legislation. Yet the scourge of ALEC policies has a firm toe hold in Iowa as all the Republican House, including Jeff Kaufmann R, Wilton, are members, a fact confirmed by Charles Smithson, chief clerk of the Iowa House. Just as huge corporate money is totally corrupting our national politics, we have a similar problem at the state level. ALEC is the vehicle being used to bring corporations and legislators together, behind closed doors in unannounced meetings to decide what is in their best interest.
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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