The Tennessee State Of ALEC

It’s not an easy task following legislation in the Tennessee General Assembly these days. Although the supermajority are not going to come clean about much of their activities coming out of ALEC, a quick Google search will show how much model legislation is being introduced and has been for some time here in Tennessee. And much of this legislation has been waiting around for the right time to be introduced for years.

It honestly doesn’t take a lot of effort to find bills going into state legislatures all around the country as they tend to have the same theme. Workers Compensation “reform” – check! (Take note of the date that this was approved by ALEC and then the reapproval date.)  Charter Schools/Voucher programs – check! (Notice that North Carolina AND Tennessee are basically doing the same thing.) The word “reform” is tricky these days as when it comes to education, the bottom line is privatizing education for profit with tax dollars. And let’s not forget the Keystone XL pipeline where the Koch brothers stand to make millions and which will require eminent domain seizure of farmland and private property.

And let’s not even get started on Wage Suppression which hasn’t gotten as much play until recently in this state but, yeppers, there is a plan.

Even the bill sponsored by Rep. Andy Holt regarding the filming of animal abuse (dubbed Ag-Gag bills which would prohibit journalists from exposing abuse in corporate agribusiness) has ALEC written all over it. The ALEC agenda is not a fan of whistleblowers, campers, and what better way to stop them then create laws that subtly makes whistle blowing harder to do.

These are not things that are discussed that often in this state. There is so much information going on that it’s hard to focus on just one thing because there is so much happening at once, and this plan has been in play for awhile (I remind you to check the dates when this started being developed.) The thing about ALEC and its’ subsidiaries is that they are patient. ALEC has been creating alliances and coalitions for years and now they are dropping the puck and ready to get this bills into the net to turn them into law.

As you can see from this list from SourceWatch, the list leans highly GOP but there are a few members from the Democratic party here in the state of Tennessee.

All of this talk about ALEC isn’t sexysauce, it’s not, but it is important to know and it is crucial to understand the actual words being used. Tort reform is not tort reform, it is caps-on-damages in lawsuits, for example. The National Federation of Independent Business, well you might want to check on that one as well because words matter when it comes to these organizations. Take a few minutes and watch this short video that lays out very effectively how ALEC is trying to obtain influence in statehouses.

I’ve written about ALEC before (man, it was quite spirited in the comments at times,) but the bottom line for me at least is that I don’t want my elected officials being ventriloquist dummies spouting off model legislation that wasn’t even written in this state. And a great deal of this model legislation is pretty much mean rubbish.

Tennessee deserves better and we can’t count on anyone but ourselves at this time. Start talking about legislation that doesn’t pass that sniff test. Take a few minutes to figure out who is working in your best interest and who isn’t.



3 comments for “The Tennessee State Of ALEC

  1. W
    April 4, 2013 at 6:08 am

    They also seem to be going after flouride in municipal water supplies. I haven’t found the bill yet but my dad (dentist at state Dept of Health, and my state rep (Susan Lynne) have both mentioned it.

    Apparently the goal is to make it something each municipality votes on.

  2. April 4, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Don’t forget Rep. Dennis Powers of District 35 is ALEC member AND one of the sponsors for the ‘anti-Medicaid expansion’ bill. Clearly the ALEC party includes this ‘kill ACA’ effort. Please talk about the donut hole Haslam has created by refusing TennCare expansion federal funds: Childless adults ages 19-64 under 100% FPL have no option for TennCare nor for health insurance subsidies. Haslam doesn’t care enough about them to drop ‘politics’ and accept the 3 year expansion., Dr. Mary Headrick

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