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The New ALEC Promo Video You Need To See

Do you remember VH1’s Pop-Up videos? It was pop culture phenomenon. AFSCME took this idea to the next level with this hilarious propaganda video from ALEC for their upcoming convention in California.

The video moves quickly at times so keep your finger on the pause button to be sure to read all of the comment bubbles as they pop-up, and ENJOY!

 

It ALEC Cheating US Tax Codes As A Non-Profit Charity?

Are corporations who fund ALEC given tax breaks for funding a right wing political lobbying organization?

Is ALEC cheating the system?

The answer to both is YES!  ALEC is technically a 501 (c) 3 or non-profit charity and because of their c3 status and corporation who donates to ALEC would be eligible to receive a tax credit for donating to a charity organization.

For three years the Center for Media and Democracy have been waiting to hear from the IRS over charges levied against ALEC for violating the charity tax status by actively lobbying politicians.

Watch this short video from The Undercurrent as they explain it all.

 

New Report Identifies 466 ALEC Bills in 2013 That Reflect Corporate Agenda

Today, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) released a new report: “ALEC at 40: Turning Back the Clock on Prosperity and Progress.” The report identifies and analyzes 466 American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) bills introduced in 2013.

alec_2013_report_coverThis week, ALEC celebrates its 40th anniversary in Chicago. At this meeting — as in all ALEC meetings — lobbyists from U.S. and foreign corporations will vote as equals alongside state legislators to adopt ALEC “model” bills, which then will be distributed nationwide with little or no disclosure of their ALEC roots.

In 2013, ALEC is going to new lengths to hide its lobbying of legislators from the public eye. It has taken to stamping all its documents as exempt from state public records laws, dodging open records with a “dropbox” website, and other tricks. After Watergate, many states strengthened their laws regarding open meetings and open records, but real sunshine on government is anathema to ALEC.

“When ALEC was born, Richard Nixon was president. Gasoline was 40 cents a gallon and the minimum wage was $1.60 an hour. Forty years later, ALEC legislators seem to be hankering for this bygone era, pursuing an agenda to roll back renewables, expand the use of fossil fuels, and suppress wages and benefits for even the lowest paid American workers,” says CMD Director of Research Nick Surgey.

In this report, the CMD identifies 466 ALEC “model” bills introduced in 2013, but pursuing a retrograde agenda.

Key Findings:

  • CMD identified 466 ALEC bills from the 2013 session. 84 of these passed and became law. ALEC bills were introduced in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2013. The top ALEC states were West Virginia (25 bills) and Missouri (21 bills).
  • Despite ALEC’s effort to distance itself from Voter ID and Stand Your Ground by disbanding its controversial Public Safety and Elections Task Force, 62 of these laws were introduced: 10 Stand Your Ground bills and 52 bills to enact or tighten Voter ID restrictions. Five states enacted additional Voter ID restrictions, and two states passed Stand Your Ground.
  • CMD identified 117 ALEC bills that affect wages and worker rights. 14 of these became law. These bills included so-called “Right to Work” legislation, part of the ALEC agenda since at least 1979, introduced in 15 states this year. Other bills would preempt local living or minimum wage ordinances, facilitate the privatization of public services, scrap defined benefit pension plans, or undermine the ability of unions to organize to protect workers.
  • CMD identified 139 ALEC bills that affect public education. 31 of these became law. Just seven states did not have an ALEC education bill introduced this year. Among other things, these bills would siphon taxpayer money from the public education system to benefit for-profit private schools, including the “Great Schools Tax Credit Act,” introduced in 10 states.
  • CMD identified 77 ALEC bills that advance a polluter agenda. 17 of these became law. Numerous ALEC “model” bills were introduced that promote a fossil fuel and fracking agenda and undermine environmental regulations. The “Electricity Freedom Act,” which would repeal state renewable portfolio standards, was introduced in six states this year.
  • CMD identified 71 ALEC bills narrowing citizen access to the courts. 14 of these became law. These bills cap damages, limit corporate liability, or otherwise make it more difficult for citizens to hold corporations to account when their products or services result in injury or death.
  • CMD identified nine states that have been inspired by ALEC’s “Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act” to crack down on videographers documenting abuses on factory farms. These so-called “ag-gag” bills erode First Amendment rights, and threaten the ability of journalists and investigators to pursue food safety and animal welfare investigations.
  • CMD identified 11 states that introduced bills to override or prevent local paid sick leave ordinances, such as the one recently enacted in New York City. At least eight of these bills were sponsored by known ALEC members. Although ALEC has not adopted a preemption bill as an official “model,” ALEC member the National Restaurant Association brought a bill to override local paid sick leave ordinances to an ALEC meeting in 2011, along with a target map and other materials.

ALEC has faced increasing scrutiny since CMD launched its ALEC Exposed project in July 2011, making the entire ALEC library of more than 800 “model” bills publicly available for the first time. Since then, groups including Color of Change, Common Cause, Progress Now, People for the American Way, the Voters Legislative Transparency Project, and others have put ALEC in the spotlight like never before.

To date, 49 major American corporations have dumped ALEC, including some of the largest firms in the world.

Read the full report here.

Do You Still Believe That ALEC Is Not Influencing Our State Legislatures To Break Our Unions?

For at least two years the Center for Media and Democracy and hundreds of other progressive media outlets (like the NHLN and Granite State Progress) have been working to show the connection between legislation in our local state houses and ALEC (The American Legislative Exchange Council).

After nearly two years of intense scrutiny ALEC has finally decided to come clean.  ALEC release all of their model legislation, which can be viewed here.  The list of legislative topics is to long to show here but I want highlight some very significant labor related model legislation.

All of these model legislations, ironically labeled ‘worker freedom’, are designed to reduce workers rights, reduce safety, and bust unions.  Some of these have made national headlines lately, including the ‘Right To Work’ for less bill and the ‘Paycheck Protection’ bill.

We must continue to pressure our legislators until ALEC is completely debunked. Organizations are leaving ALEC as fast as they can, which is good.  Until the entire organization is gone, I will continue to expose this corporate funded lobbying group for their union busting actions.

(More information can be found on PR Watch.ORG)

The NH Labor News Looks Back Over The Last 12 Months

As we close out another year everyone is taking a moment to look back over the last year.  The New Hampshire Labor News has been focused on issues surrounding labor and the middle class in New Hampshire (and beyond).  I wanted to take a few minutes to go back and highlight some of our greatest posts and a few you may have missed.

What will you remember about 2012? 

For many of us the Presidential election was the biggest thing that happened this year.  For the NH Labor News the statics back that up.  Our biggest winner of the year was a post written by NHLN Blogger Bill Brickley.  As a Letter Carrier (NALC) Bill explained the issues surrounding the funding problems and the fallacy that the USPS is going bankrupt.  It was not until Bill connected Mitt Romney to the USPS that the NHLN became a facebook phenomenon with over 6,000 ‘likes’.  The post titled, Romney working to eliminate the USPS (July 2012) racked up over 13,000 views in one day and over 30,000 views overall.

Not to be outdone, fellow Letter Carrier and labor advocate Wayne Alterisio chimed in with his post on why we need to ‘Occupy the Election‘.  While Wayne’s post did not generate the same numbers as Bill’s it still rounded out the top ten overall.

The New Hampshire Tea Party Experience

As I said we try to focus on the issues in New Hampshire first and foremost.  The extreme right wing agenda in the New Hampshire House of Representatives created lots of content.  With Speaker Bill O’Brien at the helm, labor was on the front of every newspaper on a weekly basis.  O’Brien started with his straight forward repeal of collective bargaining and ended up taking up Right To Work (for less) for a second time.  There are too many posts to talk about them all (see some here) but my favorite was when the Speaker took aim at the USPS.   He made the claim that ‘Union Thugs’ at the USPS were deliberately delaying his mail in an effort to railroad his election (read post).  As it turns out the Speaker tried to blame the postal employees for his mistake.

The local elections presented more chances for the NH Tea Party to show their true anti-worker position.  Well known Tea Partier, Ovide Lamontagne, decided to make a run for the states highest office.  As a candidate for NH Governor, Ovide received endorsements from many different organizations.  None of the endorsements were as vile to union members as the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Endorsement. This endorsement and his statement ‘I will be Walker on steroids‘ was all it took for union members in NH to mobilize against him.

The ABC also made another endorsement that caused a stir among union members in NH.  The ABC endorsed Congressman Frank Guinta. Guinta lead the charge in the US House to repeal Project Labor Agreements on Federal projects.  His anti-union advocacy even won him an award from the ABC.  Middle class families did not buy into Guinta’s Tea Party rhetoric either.  Now he is spending his last few days in Washington D.C.

ALEC Exposed

2012 was also the year that many Americans realized what an influence ALEC (the American Legislative Echange Council) has in State House’s throughout the country.  New Hampshire was no exception.

The NHLN worked closely with Granite State Progress to help bring awareness to ALEC’s influence.  GSP released their in depth research on ALEC in NH over the last 30 years.  This research reveled the connections between ALEC and Right to Work (for less), Voter ID, School Vouchers, and Union Wage Deductions. As Granite Staters became more aware the people of New Hampshire began to oppose ALEC and ALEC’s model legislation.  Throughout the year corporate sponsorship also began to distance themselves from ALEC.

Moving on

Now as we start 2013 I am hopeful that things will be different this year.  With the election of Maggie Hassan as Governor and a Democratic majority in the house, we can rest assured that Right To Work legislation will not pass.  This does not mean that we can relax in our due diligence on holding our elected officials responsible for their actions. We at the NHLN will continue to keep pressure on both sides to continue to do what is right for the middle class families in NH.

We Want To Hear From You

What was your favorite post from the NHLN this year?  What would you like to see more (or less) of in the coming year.  Go to our Facebook Page and let us know what you think.

 

I Am Just A Bill, The New ALEC Version

I’m just a bill. Everyone sing along.  I’m just a bill.  This is a classic cartoon from the 70s-80s talking about how a bill becomes a law.  Now the people at the Center for Media and Democracy have put out a new version of this video.

The brilliant Putlizer-prize winning cartoonist, Mark Fiore, does it again with another cartoon video skewering the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The video focuses on how a bill becomes a law ALEC-style. Warning: this is not School House Rock. This is Fiore’s second video on ALEC. Previously he shined a light on the NRA’s Stand Your Ground” legislation implicated in the Trayvon Martin slaying that ALEC deemed a model bill and helped get it passed in over two dozen states.

Enjoy!

RELEASE Corporate Sponsors Quit ALEC; Granite State Progress Urges New Hampshire House Republicans To Do the Same

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 06, 2012
Media contact:
Zandra Rice Hawkins, (603) 892-2150
Corporate Sponsors Quit ALEC; Granite State Progress Urges New Hampshire House Republicans To Do the Same
Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods leave conservative group over controversial stands
CONCORD, NH — To date, 3 major corporate sponsors of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have indicated they will not renew their memberships to the controversial conservative organization. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Kraft Foods, Inc. made the announcements in recent days amid mounting criticism over ALEC’s backing of “Stand Your Ground” gun laws, which have been implicated in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin – and which is the same model legislation used in crafting New Hampshire’s SB 88 that became law last year.
Granite State Progress is now urging several prominent New Hampshire Republicans to terminate their ALEC memberships as well. These known ALEC members include (but are not limited to): 
  • ALEC State Co-Chair Rep. Gary Daniels, House Labor Chair (R-Milford)
  • ALEC State Co-Chair Rep. Jordan Ulery (R-Hudson)
  • Rep. Pam Tucker, House Deputy Speaker (R-Greenland)
  • Rep. Carole McGuire, House Exec Departments and Admin Committee Chair (R-Epsom)
  • Rep. John Reagan, House Health, Human Services & Elderly Affairs Committee Chair (R-Deerfield)
  • Rep. Andrew Renzullo, House Resource Recreational and Development Chair (R-Hudson)
  • Rep. Will Smith, Special Committee Public Employee Pensions Reform Chair (R-New Castle)
  • Rep. Ken Weyler, House Finance Chair (R-Kingston)
  • Rep. Jen Coffey, House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee Vice Chair (R-Andover)
  • Rep. Warren Groen, House Environment & Agriculture Committee Vice Chair (R-Rochester)
  • Rep.  Marilinda Garcia (R-Salem)
  • Rep. Dan McGuire (R-Epsom)
  • Rep. Mark Warden (R-Weare)
  • Rep. Moe Villeneuve (R-Bedford)
Granite State Progress also encourages lone ALEC-affiliated House Democrat Kris Roberts (D-Keene) to sever his ties with the corporate-driven organization.
Recent Granite State Progress reports exposed that ALEC-affiliated and other corporate-influenced legislators have pushed several  pieces of ALEC model legislation in the New Hampshire State House this year, including:
HB 1607 and SB 372 Private School Voucher
HB 1560 Health Care Compact
CACR 6 Super Majority Act
SB 289 and SB 318 Photo ID to Vote
HCR 2 Arizona Anti-Immigrant Law
HCR 40 Regarding National Debt
And, as referenced above, last year’s ALEC model legislation bill SB 88, widely known as “stand your ground” or “kill at will” bills. Laws like these have been widely criticized for promoting the sort of “vigilante justice” mindset that contributed to Martin’s death.
“Given what we now know about ALEC and its detrimental effect on New Hampshire’s public policy, there’s no excuse for New Hampshire legislators to continue their involvement in the organization,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Director of Granite State Progress. “The fact that Coke, Pepsi and Kraft have left ALEC speaks volumes to how toxic the group has become. It’s time for New Hampshire’s ALEC members to follow suit.”
For more information:
###
Online links to press releases available at www.GraniteStateProgress.org. Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

ALEC, What is Their Influence in NH House?

A very important piece of research came out this week from Granite State Progress.  Through deep research of ALEC Exposed and the New Hampshire General Court websites they have connected the two.  For over 30 years Right To Work legislation has been pushed in the New Hampshire House.  In fact, over the last 30 years Right To Work legislation has been proposed thirteen times.  Even before that legislators discussed a “Right To Work for Less bill”.

In 1983 during the debate on SB 71, Sen. Jim Splaine references that a right to work for less bill – though not necessarily in this exact verbiage -­‐ has been discussed every term of his 14 years in the legislature and comes from a firm based out of Virginia. Other Senators note that support for the bill is mostly from out-­‐of-­‐state, including additional references to “telegrams from Virginia” – the home of the National Right to Work Committee.

For many of these years both Republican and Democrat legislators have rejected this amendment until 2011.  In 2011 it took a Governor’s veto to stop Right To Work.   Why has the NH House been pushing Right To Work so hard especially over the last few years? Four words, the American Legislative Exchange Counsel (ALEC).

ALEC is a corporate funded organization that puts state legislators together to help pass laws that are favorible to the corporations and the 1% who own them.  I will let them explain:

“Our members join for the purpose of having a seat at the table. That’s just what we do, that’s the service we offer,” explains Dennis Bartlett, an ALEC task force head who is also the executive director of the American Bail Coalition. “The organization is supported by money from the corporate sector, and, by paying to be members, corporations are allowed the opportunity to sit down at the table and discuss the issues that they have an interest in.”

You might say this is corporate lobbying, but it is more than that.  ALEC also helps to create the legislation that state legislators then submit in their home state as their own laws.  Why would they do this? Granite State Progress explains in their brief:

Corporate Power and Workers’ Rights“ALEC works fervently to promote laws that would shield corporations from legal action and allow them to limit the rights of workers. The group’s model legislation would roll back laws regarding corporate accountability, workers compensation and on the job protections, collective bargaining and organizing rights, prevailing wage and the minimum wage. ALEC is a main proponent of bills that undermineorganized labor by stripping public employees of collective bargaining rights and “right to work” laws. They also push “regulatory flexibility” laws that lead to massive deregulation. It is no surprise that the director of ALEC’s Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force previously worked as a Koch Associate at the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.”

Is it really suprising that our current House Labor Committee is pushing Right To Work and other ALEC legislation? Not really when you consider that the chair of the Labor Committee is Gary Daniels
who is in his 8th term in the house.  Daniels was also the “American Legislative Exchange Council Labor & Business Task Force (1990-­‐1992) ~from the Handbook of New Hampshire Elected Officials 1993 & 1994 ALEC State Legislator “.I wonder if we will see any Anti-ALEC legislation in the New Hampshire House like they have proposed in Minnesota?

All quotes are from GSP Research
NH Labor News Previous Posts on ALEC

Union Wage Deductions laws proposed from ALEC?
State Reps getting Taxpayer Money to attend ALEC conferences?
ALEC Exposed Voter ID laws in New Hampshire.

GSP Report: 30 Years Of ALEC Model “Right To Work For Less” Legislation In NH

 New report documents three decades of corporate-written model legislation to undermine workers rights and the middle class
Concord, NH – One day before a possible New Hampshire House vote on right to work for less legislation, a new report by Granite State Progress documents more than three decades of model legislation by the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to undermine workers rights and the middle class in New Hampshire.
According to The Nation, ALEC is “a critical arm of the right wing network of policy shops that, with infusions of corporate cash, has evolved to shape American politics … ALEC’s model legislation reflects long term goals … priorities for the 2011 session included bills to privatize education, break unions, deregulate major industries, pass voter id laws and more.”1
For more than 30 years, legislation that has the sole intent of busting organized work forces and unions in New Hampshire has been introduced every legislative session, sometimes in both the House and Senate. Granite State Progress research now reveals that whenever right to work for less legislation was introduced during this time period, it was nearly always verbatim to ALEC model legislation.
“Big corporations have influenced our elections for decades, but just as dangerous is the way they have quietly drafted legislation introduced in State Houses across the country,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Director of Granite State Progress. “ALEC is a corporate-funded entity that allows corporate special interests to sit next to legislators and draft legislation by and for the wealthiest one percent of Americans. This must be exposed, and it must be stopped.”
Granite State Progress has issued periodic reports and exposes about ALEC since the summer of 2011, using the tools provided on www.ALECExposed.com. The following report narrows in on right to work for less legislation designed to undermine workers rights; the report compares ALEC Right to Work for Less model legislation to real New Hampshire legislation over a span of three decades. It additionally includes a supplement on sponsors and cosponsors of ALEC model legislation.
The current House version of right to work for less legislation is HB 1677. It is on the House calendar for tomorrow’s session day.
The report can be found online here.
 

Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

A Letter to NH Labor News Editor on ALEC and NH House

This is a letter to the editor of the NH Labor News.

To The Editor:

Anyone who wants to know what happens to a state when they enact this right wing nonsense needs to look to Mississippi, which has most of this ALEC junk, along with tort reform and crummy workers compensation laws. We KNOW how to cater to corporations and insurance companies (curiously, none of them seem to want to locate here). And, yes, we’re still last in everything you want to be first in, and first in everything you want to be last in. Our legislature is looking to gut our state Department of Health, but never the Department of Corrections. I suspect ALEC has some private prison groups on the board as well.

If we’re going to outsource the writing of bad laws to a corporate-financed groups, maybe we ought to just do away with the state legislators and simply let those corporate groups vote on the laws they wrote.
In fact, after Citizens United, maybe we already have.

Stan D Strong
Manchester NH

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