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ALEC quits gun policy, lefties want more

by Dara Kam | April 18th, 2012

It isn’t enough that the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, has backed down from Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law after spreading it around the country, some left-leaning groups say.

Now they want lawmakers to quit the group as well. Progress Florida has launched a statewide campaign urging its supporters to tell legislators to “disavow the group’s extremist and secretive influence on Florida law making.” Other national groups are urging state lawmakers and more businesses to do the same.

ALEC – the business-backed organization that provides prepackaged bills for lawmakers, many of which have been used by the GOP-dominated Florida legislature – yesterday announced it was discontinuing its “Public Safety” and “Elections” task forces that promoted controversial measures including “Stand Your Ground” and voter ID laws that critics say make it harder for minorities to cast their ballots.

The move came after at least 10 corporations refused to renew their memberships in ALEC, a decades-old organization relatively unknown until the Trayvon Martin shooting thrust ALEC into the national spotlight.

Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman claimed he shot the unarmed teenager in self-defense. Florida’s first-in-the-nation, 2005 law allows people to use deadly force when they feel threatened. ALEC pushed Florida’s NRA-backed bill, and about two dozen states have adopted similar laws.

Progress Florida as well as national groups, including Common Cause, complain that the corporations behind ALEC are crafting the model bills then sponsored by state lawmakers.

For example, state Rep. Rachel Burgin, R-Riverview, earlier this year sponsored a memorial urging Congress to cut the federal corporate tax rate.

But the proposal’s first “whereas” clause mistakenly revealed the source of the bill language.

“WHEREAS, it is the mission of the American Legislative Exchange Council to advance Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty,” Burgin’s memorial reads.

“ALEC represents what is essentially an unelected, shadow Legislature in Florida,” Progress Florida executive director Mark Ferrulo said.

It’s no surprise that progressive groups are using ALEC’s 15 minutes of fame to attack the conservative organization. The group has pushed union-busting bills, tort and education reforms and other pro-business measures that liberals despise.

But it’s questionable how much sway the lefties will have with GOP lawmakers. As of yesterday, ALEC’s Florida state chairman Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, said has no intention of walking away.

“The membership probably is catching some emails on this,” Patronis said.

But, he added, “I don’t think any ALEC members have resigned their membership to ALEC based on this retaliatory effort.”

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6 Responses to “ALEC quits gun policy, lefties want more”

  1. ALEC MUST BE DISBANDED Says:

    This organization is a perversion of democracy.

    Here is the step-by-step process laid plain for all to see:

    1) CORPORATIONS purchase laws.

    2) REPUBLICANS pass the laws with no debate.

    3) CORPORATE-FUNDED PROPAGANDA whitewashes the issue if there is any outcry.

    4) CORPORATIONS benefit to the detriment of the people.

    If that is the America you want to see, then you are a FASCIST who opposes the concept of representative democracy.

    If you oppose this procedure, then you are a PATRIOT.

    It is really that simple.

  2. bob Says:

    @Alecmustbedisbanded

    So if you support any of those things you are not a patriot? I guess by your definition a patriot would be someone who

    1) Gives up free will in all ways to let the government dictate a citizens behavior, from where you work, to what you eat, to what you drive, etc.

    2) Someone who believes that the government should take by force from some, and spend it on others.

    3) Desires that everyone be equal regardless of intellect, education, commitment, drive, or any other human condition that would set a person apart.

    4) Someone who believes that it is ok to take away the liberties of the citizens if determined by the government to be in the best interest of the people. (i would if you felt this way about Bush, since Obama has followed most of his policies lock step.)

    5) Someone who will denigrate another person at the same time as claiming to be ‘enlightened’. basically a hypocrite.

    Doesn’t sound very patriotic to me. I will stick with option one and ALEC even though many of the things they do i do not support. Particularly the religious ones.

  3. Joe Says:

    This is a positive step. I don’t like the idea of my phone company (AT&T) using my hard-earned payments to buy legislative access in order to promote shoot first legislation.

  4. GO OBAMA! Says:

    Yes, if you support corporations buying laws that the people don’t want, yes, you are not a patriot.

    We have a Constitution for a reason.

    In the Constitution, there is a section called the Preamble. The Preamble defines the purpose of the Constitution, the purpose of the societal contract under which we all agree to live:

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    Nothing in there about corporations buying laws to benefit their profit margins.

    The fact that Republicans don’t know — or more likely DON’T RESPECT — these founding principles of our country is literally the Founders’ nightmare, and doom for any hope of a resurrection of the American Dream.

  5. bob Says:

    @GoObama

    Glad you cleared it up about the Constitution and the founders. So how do you address the fact that George Bush and Barack Obama have stomped all over the Constitution in an unheard of abuse of power? The appointment of czars so the presidents can rule by fiat. Congress handing over their rights to the executive branch for the ACA (yes Sebelius’ boss is the President). Robbing us of our liberties in the name of national security. Obama pitching democracy?
    Our founding fathers warned us about all of these things, that have become common place in the Obama administration. You must not be a Patriot if you support Obama.

  6. GO OBAMA! Says:

    Bob,

    You seem to not understand the Executive Branch, so I will try to help. The stuff about Czars and heads of federal departments (such as HHS) is a function of the powers vested in the office of the President by the U.S. Constitution. Sebelius’ power as Secretary of the HHS department of the executive branch was vested in her by the Congress. Her appointment by the President was confirmed by the Senate as per the Constitution.

    Article 2, Section 2:

    “””He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, *****shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States*****, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.”””

    http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html

    Not coincidentally, the first Cabinet and functional Executive Branch was developed by the horrific tyrant (kidding) George Washington.

    Hope that helps improve your understanding of the U.S. government.

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