Progressives have long tried to expose the influence the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) wields in state house across the country, but one Florida lawmaker is making it too easy.
Funded almost entirely by large corporations, ALEC produces “model legislation” favorable to industry that state lawmakers can introduce as their own bills. Usually, the legislators tweak the language of the bills to make them state-specific or to obfuscate their origins. Usually, but apparently not always.
In November, Florida state Rep. Rachel Burgin (R) introduced a resolution (PDF here) that would officially call on the federal government to reduce corporate taxes, but she apparentlyforgot to remove ALEC’s mission statement from the top of the bill, which she seems to have copied word-for-word from ALEC’s model bill:
As the government transparency group Common Cause reports, “Burgin quickly withdrew the bill hoping that no one had noticed and then re-introduced it 24-hours later, with a new bill number (HM 717), but now without the problematic paragraph.” Apparently no one noticed until this week.
While it’s no secret by now that conservative lawmakers in state capitals everywhere have used ALEC’s legislation to tear down environmental and labor regulations, curb voting rights, and coordinate a business-friendly agenda nationwide, it’s rare to see it on display so clearly.