Friday, April 20, 2012

We're mad as hell and we're not gonna take ALEC any more

The creepy corporate lobbying group known as ALEC is losing members in droves. Both corporate members and the state politicians they influence are announcing their withdrawal from the group.

Gawker offers this great description of ALEC, aka the American Legislative Exchange Council:
... a national clearinghouse of pre-written right-wing bills, helpfully provided to conservative state legislators too dumb to come up with their own ideas...Basically, ALEC is the highway rest stop where huge corporations meet with state legislators to draft — or just hand over — "model legislation" that the lawmakers can take back to their home states...
Louisiana Rep. Greg Cromer, the ALEC state chairman for Louisiana, is a recent defector from the group. He quit in a huff, exposing ALEC's pervasive influence in the state by doing so. The Louisiana Voice blog ran a magnificent post about the whole affair. We bring you this excerpt:
Every living, breathing soul in Louisiana should emulate the late actor Peter Finch in the movie Network and call his or her legislators and repeat that classic line: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” 
Every living, breathing soul in Louisiana should then pose this question to their respective legislators, especially to those have accepted bribes…er, campaign money from ALEC and Jindal: “Why are you not putting the interests of your constituents ahead of those of Piyush ‘ATM’ Jindal and the corporatocracy of the American Legislative Exchange Council?” 
And ask your legislators if they are so weak-willed that they cannot ask tough, intelligent questions or challenge the governor? Are they so inept and so disconnected with the people of this state that it has somehow become necessary to allow the corporate members of ALEC, many of whom do not even pay taxes (see Wednesday’s LouisianaVoice post), to determine which laws and policies are best for the State of Louisiana? 
Ask them if things are really so muddled up in Baton Rouge that decisions affecting millions of lives in this state must now be made by a series of consultants at contract costs that are draining the state of dollars faster than any of the state pension unfunded accrued liabilities? 
And finally, while you’re at it, demand that the legislature go back and undo everything it has done in the name of Piyush and ALEC. All ALEC/Jindal-sponsored bills that have been approved by committees, the House and the Senate should be proclaimed null and void by acclamation. Tell the legislators that everything they have done to this point is tainted by the stain and smell of ALEC. 
Send emails, make phone calls and if they don’t respond, you go back, Jack…, and do it again. And again. Keep asking until you get an answer.