Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Get ALEC READY for Your Precinct Caucus

If you are new to the MInnesota Caucus process here is a good link with decent information.

On to the good stuff.....

Here is a draft of a resolution that you could revise and enter at your precinct caucus meeting.
I can not take credit for this – it was written by someone else and sent to me.

Whereas the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) engages in anti-democratic lobbying operates as a Shadow Government for Minnesota and other United States, and

Whereas, the Citizens of Minnesota demand that their government operations be conducted in the open, and

Whereas, Minnesota state Senators and state Representatives who are ALEC Legislative members meet in secret with corporate executives and Lobbyists in out of state venues, and

Whereas, ALEC Legislative members and corporations and corporation representatives, meet in secret and write laws which benefit the same corporations, and the corporation's economic interests at the expense of Minnesota Citizens's legitimate legislative interests, and present the work as their own, and

Whereas, this opaque legislative activity violates Minnesota rules and laws regarding legislative transparency, and

Whereas, this lack of transparency is an affront to Good Government and the interests of all Minnesotans,

Therefore, be it resolved that the Democratic Party of Minnesota hereby declares that it is a plank of our legislative agenda, that we will expose each and every ALEC Model Bill introduced into the Minnesota Legislature,

Therefore, be it resolved that each piece of ALEC Model Legislation introduced in the Minnesota Legislature will be required to read into the record of the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives, each ALEC Legislative Member, and

Therefore, each ALEC Model Legislation introduced into the Minnesota Legislature will be required to disclose the names of the organizations represented on the ALEC Private and Public Task Forces, and the names of the individuals who sit on those Task Forces,

So that the Citizens of Minnesota will know what economic and other interests are represented by the ALEC Legislative Members of the Minnesota Legislature.

In Minnesota,  take copies of this report with you

And if you want, make a copy of this letter that was sent to me by a friend, edited from a letter intially sent by AZ  Representative Steve Farley
ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) is a conservative national political organization funded by large corporate interests that funnels language for right-wing legislation to conservative lawmakers in state capitols across the country. 

Media reports have made it clear that the relationship between the ALEC and corporate special interests, lobbyists and lawmakers in Minnesota is an intimate one. Currently, a quiet system of lobbyist-funded scholarships fund lawmaker participation in conferences that promote an ideological agenda at the same time as it provides fancy accommodations, upscale dining and entertainment "networking" opportunities in cities around the country. These activities are not regulated or disclosed in a way easy for the public to track. 

ALEC lobbies Minnesota's state lawmakers to carry out its right-wing corporatist agenda and it is quite effective in doing so, successfully orchestrating the passage of many of its bills relating to private prisons, voter suppression, the privatization of public education, and attacks on healthcare and environmental protection. You can read more about ALEC's influence on Minnesota in this PDF report from Common Cause:

Currently, ALEC operates outside the regulations in place to limit lobbyist influence on our state's political process so the extent of their activities -- and those of the special interests that fund ALEC -- is unknown, even though it seems clear that ALEC is merely another vehicle for special interests to advance their self-interested agenda through Minnesota's lawmakers. 

The public has the right to know who funds ALEC's activities, who funds legislators' costs associated with attending ALEC meetings and conferences around the country and which legislators are accepting those funds. Minnesota's citizens also have a right to ensure that, as a lobbying entity, ALEC complies with the laws in place to limit the influence of lobbyists on Minnesota's political process. 

ARIZONA’s BILL – The Farley Bill
My ALEC Accountability Act of 2012 will require ALEC to adhere to the same laws that other lobbying entities must follow. It is time to shine the light on who funds this organization and who funds the travel and other participation costs of legislators active in groups like ALEC.

Good luck - Have fun
Be the voice of ALEC education.

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