The rise of the GOP in the state legislature the past two years coincided with exposure of a previously little known conservative group that has worked to shape legislation for decades: the American Legislative Exchange Council.
ALEC was a significant part of Republican lawmakers’ agenda in Raleigh, with a “boot camp” on “model legislation,” a spring summit meeting of the organization’s various task forces – each specializes in specific issues – was held in Charlotte, and in the summer of 2011, a large contingent of Republican members of the House attended the national conference in New Orleans, where House Speaker Thom Tillis was named one of the legislators of the year.
Meanwhile, a drumbeat by liberal groups outed ALEC’s behind-the-scenes work to bring the corporate agenda to the nation’s legislators to pass pro-business laws. Despite the bad P.R., North Carolina legislators aren’t likely to severe their longstanding ties to ALEC, and the group will likely continue to be a player in the new session that begins in January.
Dome meant to note this earlier, but it’s been a busy year: One local liberal group, Progress N.C., put out its own report, based on research by the Center for Media and Democracy and Common Cause, and reporting in newspapers, including The N&O.
Its report noted that 40 North Carolina legislators were ALEC members, all but three in the House, and all but two Republicans. It pointed to three ALEC-inspired bills that became law last session: the castle-doctrine “stand your ground” gun law, the failed attempt to gut consumer protection in product liability cases, and the promotion of charter schools. Language in all three bills was similar to ALEC model legislation.