Raleigh – The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a far-right front group that helps corporations write legislation in closed-door meetings with lawmakers far away from state capitols, announced NC GOP State Rep. Jason Saine as their next chairman, further tightening the group’s grasp over the NC GOP.
NC has long been a testing ground for ALEC’s model legislation. Bills filed in the General Assembly from “requiring voter ID at the polls and allowing private school vouchers to repealing the federal health care law and prioritizing energy exploration” can be traced back to ALEC and its shadowy corporate backers.
Here’s what ALEC has forced on NC:
- A Voter Suppression Bill that targeted African-Americans with “surgical like” precision and was labeled as one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the country. [MinnPost, 8/19/12]
- Harsh Immigration Laws that made it harder to verify immigration status.
- Controversial “Stand Your Ground” Laws that came under scrutiny after Trayvon Martin was killed. The same task force that drafted the model legislation was “disbanded” when prominent corporate members dropped their membership. [News & Observer, 5/6/13]
- School Vouchers that Rob Public School Funding to Pay for Private, For Profit Schools. Since 2013, Republican budgets have given millions to fund private voucher programs. “The transformation of public education — from an institution that serves the public into one that serves private for-profit interests — has been in progress for decades, thanks in large part to ALEC.” [Center for Media and Democracy, 7/16/13]
Our lawmakers haven’t shy about being puppets of ALEC either. In 2015, Republican legislators put budget negotiations on hold to attend an ALEC conference in San Diego, while two years earlier, they skipped session to attend ALEC’s spring conference in Oklahoma City.
- Headline: “NC House work slows as members attend ALEC conference” [Asheville Citizen-Times, 7/25/15]
“Republicans in the General Assembly haven’t been shy about being puppets for their corporate backers, but now they’re just flaunting how far they’re willing to go to rig the system to benefit their wealthy donors,” NCDP Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds said. “Republicans should stop serving at the feet of shadowy corporate front groups and instead listen to the needs and priorities of actual North Carolinians.”