Nancy Wakefield, Howard
ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) is really, really scary. It is an organization of conservative state legislators and private sector corporations originally founded by Wisconsin native Paul Weyrich. Weyrich also founded the conservative Heritage Foundation.
Corporate representatives craft and share models of state-level legislation for distribution among state governments in the USA. Then the state can customize the legislation and introduce it for debate in their own state legislature. When we look back at the lame-duck session here, this rings a bell. The bills proposed in Wisconsin and Michigan show a pattern of similarity that cannot be accidental. Look how quickly a large number of bills were submitted by Wisconsin Republicans. This shows that they had been discussing this plan for a long time and were ready to act immediately after the election.
ALEC is funded by the extreme right and large corporations. Thousands of lawmakers pay $50 a year for membership. Corporations pay between $7,000 and $25,000 annually with some giving hundreds of thousands of dollars more. The lawmakers get “scholarships,” the New Yorks Times reported, to attend an annual ALEC convention where they work in task forces with corporate representatives. The task forces write model bills that the lawmakers introduce in legislatures. An ALEC membership brochure reported in 2012 that its legislative members introduce more than 1,000 bills a year.
I suggest that you go to the website of the Center for Media and Democracy, , and read more. Some well-known Wisconsin lawmakers have had ties with ALEC: Tommy Thompson, Scott Walker, current House Speaker Robin Vos, current Senate Majority leader Scott Fitzgerald, Rep. John Nygren, and Leah Vukmir. I urge you to really take some time to find out all that the website has found.
Rep. Robin Vos and Sen. Scott Fitzgerald have come out against Gov. Evers, the Green Bay Press Gazette reported. They are vowing to change everything that Evers wants in the budget; he will veto their bills; and then we will have a royal mess. So much for finding one thing we can work on together. It looks to me that they are going to war with the newly elected Democrats using all the skills they learned from ALEC meetings.
How can we fight ALEC for our state business and the next election? Mainly we need to expose those who have been members and hold them responsible for their behavior. Of course, we must vote them out. Another thing to do is to have a good number of people contact legislators by phone (best) or email. One or two calls will not work. We need a lot of people to be aware of what is coming up and be ready to act.
If readers have more suggestions, please write your letters. We are going to have to fight hard because these legislators are already years ahead of us.