The progressive activist group Keystone Progress today released a report showing that state legislation to oppose healthcare reform and support privatization was copied from model legislation developed behind closed doors with major corporate donors at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Rep. Matthew Baker's legislation opposing "Obamacare" was based on an ALEC model and praised in an ALEC press release--even though the organization claims it does no lobbying (Common Cause strenuously disagrees):
“The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) -- the nation's largest nonpartisan individual membership association of state legislators -- congratulates Pennsylvania State Representatives Matthew Baker and Curt Schroder for filing House Bills 2053 and 2179, which protect the right of individuals to make their own health care choices...Pennsylvania joins 31 other states where legislators have introduced, or will introduce, legislation modeled after ALEC's Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act. Under the legislation, any state attempt to require an individual to purchase health insurance -- or forbid an individual from purchasing services outside of the required health care system -- would be rendered unconstitutional.”
Rep. Seth Grove introduced the ALEC model "Council on Efficient Government Act" that would encourage privatization of government services.
Citizen activists and journalists have just begun to compare state legislation to ALEC models. ProPublica has a how-to guide for anyone interested in doing some digging on their own.
Last week, City Paper disclosed that State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe and other conservatives received taxpayer funding to participate in and travel to American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meetings. I further explored the matter in a separate article over at Salon.
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