Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Many PA bills being written by secretive group of corporate lobbyists

American Legislative Exchange Council writes bills and then gives them to PA legislators who pass them off as their own work

(HARRISBURG,PA)—A new report released today reveals a disturbing level of influence by corporate lobbyists in Pennsylvania. A secretive organization known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been writing legislation which PA legislators have been passing off as their own work. The bills written by ALEC cover virtually every area of public policy, including healthcare, budgeting and tax policy. The report was written by Keystone Progress, a progressive advocacy group based in Harrisburg.
“We are not talking about legislators following a corporate agenda, there is nothing new in that.” said Eileen Connelly, chair of Keystone Progress. “This is legislation which is used verbatim by legislators who pretend that they wrote these bills.”
Among the bills copied from ALEC’s “Model Bills” website are:
  • HB 42, the “Freedom of choice in Healthcare Act,” introduced by Rep. Matthew Baker (R, Bradford, Tioga)
  • HB 250, the “Council on Efficient Government Act, “ introduced by Rep. Rep. Seth Grove (R, York)
  • HB 1349, the “Regulatory Review Act,” introduced by Rep. Tina Pickett (R, Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna)
The report identifies 23 legislators who are ALEC members, including much of the GOP leadership in the General Assembly. Twenty-two of the 23 are GOP legislators. Only one is a Democrat.
Until now it has been difficult to show the connection between ALEC and corporate takeover of democracy. Last week The Center for Media and Democracy uncovered 800 bills and resolutions that were voted on by ALEC members, showing how its unelected corporate members are given a direct voice on the creation of bills that affect the lives of American citizens every day. The agenda embedded in these bills is about tilting the system into favoring those with money and power. Through de-regulation of industry, voter suppression and setting up barriers to direct democracy ALEC legislation has greatly influenced the political landscape in many states, including Pennsylvania.
These bills align closely with the agenda of the Republican leadership in both chambers. With over 800 bills, it is impossible to compare each to the bills introduced in the PA House and Senate this year without reviewing each ALEC bill and comparing it to similar legislation in PA.
The report may be obtained electronically here or by contacting Michael Morrill (KP Executive Director) at mike@keystoneprogress.org, or Jamie Mondics (KP Healthcare Communiaction Coordinator) at jamie@keystoneprogress.org)

Michael Morrill, Executive Director
Keystone Progress
1500 N. 2nd St., Ste. 11
Harrisburg, PA 17102

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