Monday, December 10, 2012

Minnesota Needs to RE-Address ALEC

UPDATE - They did do this in 2013 - See my 2013 post >>>HERE<<<

S.F. No. 2249, as introduced - 87th Legislative Session (2011-2012) [12-5598]
    ; Higgins
    ; Marty
    ; McGuire
    ; Dziedzic

House Companion: HF2657;
    ; Murphy, E.
    ; Hornstein
    ; Greene
    ; Gauthier
    ; Hortman

Little known to many in Minnesota, last year Minnesota Senator Dribble offered the following amendments to the Section 1. Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 10A.01, subdivision 21.

The amendments included:
Subd. 21. Lobbyist. (a) "Lobbyist" means an individual:
(3) who attempts to influence legislative adoption of model legislation written or distributed by a principal.

Sec. 2. Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 10A.01, is amended by adding a subdivision to read:
Subd. 25a. Model legislation. "Model legislation" means legislation written or distributed by a principal to public officials of more than one state.

Subd. 33. Principal. "Principal" means an individual or association that:
drafts, promotes, or distributes model legislation to any public official of this state with the purpose of influencing a public official to introduce the legislation or vote in favor of the legislation.

Sec. 4. Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 10A.01, is amended by adding a subdivision to read:
Subd. 35a. Scholarship funds. "Scholarship funds" means money or other financial support given by a principal to, or on behalf of, a public official to reimburse or pay for all or part of the costs of attending a conference, meeting, or event where model legislation will be presented, discussed, distributed, or made available.

Sec. 5. Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 10A.04, subdivision 6, is amended to read:
Subd. 6. Principal reports. (a) A principal must report to the board as required in this subdivision by March 15 for the preceding calendar year.
(c) The principal must report under this subdivision a total amount that includes:
 (d) A principal that grants scholarship funds for a public official to attend a conference, meeting, or event must report:
 (1) the names of all public officials that received scholarship 4.1 funds for attendance at the conference, meeting, or event; and
 (2) the names of any entity or individuals who contributed money towards scholarship funds; when possible, the report must identify the entities or individuals who contributed to each recipient's scholarship.

Sec. 6. Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 10A.09, subdivision 5, is amended to read: Subd. 5. Form. A statement of economic interest required by this section must be on a form prescribed by the board. The individual filing must provide the following information:
 (6) a listing of all scholarship funds received, or paid on the individual's behalf, the amount of each scholarship, the granting entity, and the conference, meeting, or event for which the scholarship funds were granted.

You may ask what happened to this amendment.

Well – according to documentation released on April 20, 2012 by Senator Dibble (my emphasis)

In response to ALEC’s activities suddenly being exposed to the light of day, dozens of corporate members have withdrawn from the organization in recent weeks. Just days ago, ALEC responded to the backlash by announcing it would refocus its efforts only on ostensibly economic issues, not social policies.

We have yet to see how this change will change ALEC’s stronghold on Republican lawmakers, but it shouldn’t take a tragedy to bring this kind of transparency to an organization that is funneling money and influence in statehouses across our nation. Under current Minnesota law, ALEC has been able to push its agenda largely out of sight, concealing itself as charitable organization that does not perform lobbying duties. Yet, more than 60 ALEC-backed bills have been introduced in the Minnesota legislature in the past two years, and 19 legislators that we know of are part of ALEC’s legislative task forces. Seven of Gov. Dayton’s 12 vetoes this year have been of ALEC-backed measures.

I offered an amendment on the Senate Floor in March, which would have required special-interest groups such as ALEC to be more transparent. This would have armed Minnesotans with the type of information they deserve to have. Our state already has very strong campaign finance and lobbying laws that require lawmakers to disclose which lobbyists send them money and who is actively lobbying the legislature. This amendment simply would have closed a gaping loophole that allows certain special interests to hide from public view. Unfortunately, Republicans unanimously voted down my amendment.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Republican majority in Minnesota’s legislature will go to any length to protect their special-interest influences, contributing to the legislature’s hyper-partisanship that is preventing even good, basic work, in the public’s interest, from being accomplished this year. Minnesotans deserve better than this.

Well folks – the Republicans aren’t in charge anymore.
Let’s see this amendment resurface!!!!

It's time to take on the American Legislative Exchange Council in the Minnesota House and Senate.

Minnesotans deserve better than this.
YES – we do!!!!

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