Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wisconsin lawmakers crashes ALEC secret confab

Chris Taylor, a Wisconsin state representative, crashed the latest ALEC confab in Dallas (the one that drew hundreds of protesters). Taylor is a Democrat, but ALEC couldn't kick her out of the meeting for fear of losing its 501(c)3 status. (ALEC is nothing like a charity, but that's a whole separate story.)

The state lawmakers who take advantage of ALEC's corporate dating service introduce more than 1,000 corporate-written bills  every year. About 20 percent become law. ALEC bills seek to roll back workers' rights, privatize education and prisons, impose harsher prison sentences so more people will go to private prisons and make it harder for Democrats to vote.

She went on The Ed Show the other night to talk about why she infiltrated ALEC. "People need to know where these policies are coming from," she said. "(They're) rolling through their state legislatures...They're designed to maximize corporate profits, they're not for the people, in fact so many of these policies hurt the people."

"People should be very, very alarmed about what is happening that their state leg are advancing policies that don't help them, that advance the interests of out-of-state corporations," she said.

Taylor kept a diary about her trip into the heart of darkness and published it in The Progressive. On Day 2, she noted how backward the corporations are that are trying to control state lawmakers in order to make money off taxpayers. "ALEC is the ultimate guardian of the past."
They looked and acted like the guardians of the past, in a desperate struggle to protect their current wealth and privilege by reverting to the past when corporations could do as corporations pleased... 
ALEC wants to go back to a time when people were excluded from participating in elections by replacing poll taxes with voter ID laws.... 
ALEC also wants to go back to a time of separate but unequal educational systems, draining public schools of resources that are re-allocated to private voucher and unaccountable charter schools. Interestingly, the charter movement has abandoned its claim that charter schools can do a better job with less money than traditional public schools. 
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools now plans to return to states including Wisconsin with new ALEC model bills requiring charter funding parity with traditional public schools, expanding which entities are able to authorize new charter schools, and exempting these schools from all state requirements. 
ALEC wants to go back to a time when there was no public safety net, and people experiencing hard times were left to fend for themselves or seek help from a church or charity. In the Medicaid realm, ALEC’s new model policy would make it almost impossible for anyone to qualify for Medicaid. Another model policy requires legislative approval for Medicaid expansions, but not for Medicaid restrictions.
We hope she's right with her conclusion:
I do not think most Americans want to go back to a time when workers had no rights, when corporations could pollute our water and skies at their whim, and when eligible people were excluded from the ballot box, and children, the sick, and the vulnerable were cared for, or not, depending on the whims of their neighbors. ALEC represents the past. But most people want to move forward.