Saturday, June 07, 2003

More On ALEC (and Environmental/Terrorist Legislation)

Following Molly Ivins' article mentioning ALEC(see posting below), I started looking for more info about ALEC and found this stomach churning articlein by Karen Charman. Now I know more than I want to know. Choice snippets as follows:
    "...The Texas bill defines an "animal rights or terrorist organization" as "two or more persons organized for the purpose of supporting any politically motivated activity intended to obstruct or deter any person from participating in an activity involving animals or... natural resources." The bill adds that "'Political motivation' means an intent to influence a government entity or the public to take a specific political action." Language in the New York bill is similarly broad. Michael Ratner, a human rights lawyer and vice-president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, has never seen such draconian legislation in the United States..."
I did read about this eco-terrorist proposal but I hadn't made the connection about ALEC's involvement. More details about ALEC are in this July 2002 article by Nick Penniman in the American Prospect. He writes:
    "...ALEC specializes in nothing if not the intertwining of private and public power: Each of its issue-based "task forces" is co-chaired by a "public-sector chair" (a state legislator) and a "private-sector chair" (a corporate executive); similarly, the council has a "national board" of elected officials and a "private enterprise board" of business leaders. But the organization's real ingenuity is its exploitation of a deep vulnerability in the nation's political system: State legislatures tend to function only part time. Only seven states have full-time state legislatures; in six states the legislature convenes just every other year; and in 38 states, legislators have no paid staff. If you're a politician looking to sponsor a bill, but your time and resources are limited and you only meet with your colleagues once every few months, ALEC provides one-stop shopping..."
So that was a year ago: what is ALEC up to right now, today? For only the intrepid adventurers, here is an editorial straight from the horses mouth, Paul Weyrich, in Cybercast News Service ( Note: There is also ALECwatch, a site supported by the Defenders of Wildlife and the National Resources Defense Council linked here. Their report “Trojan Horse In the States” about corporation’s role in state legislation is on this site.