April 9, 2013 15:51
The Florida House of Representatives seems to be taking all its legislative cues from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Not only can the debate over workers’ pensions be traced back to ALEC, but the controversial organization can also be linked to efforts to prohibit local governments from implementing laws that extend to paid sick leave.
The Florida House passed a sick leave bill last week, Bill 655, which would also invalidate initiatives by local governments to mandate living wages for workers.
The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting says the bill is similar to others backed by ALEC and (not surprisingly) has a lot of corporate support in the state.
Wisconsin, Louisiana and Mississippi have passed similar bills on the state level. Other states considering paid sick leave bills include Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma and Washington.
ALEC, a Washington, DC-based politically ultra-conservative non-profit, thrives on operating in the shadows of American government to push anti-worker, anti-union legislation in statehouses across the country.
ALEC sponsors private meetings allowing state lawmakers and corporate executives to frame legislation that is later introduced in state legislatures. The laws tilt in the favor of big business. ALEC has pushed legislation that has been harmful to fire fighters’ right to collectively bargain and has also proposed other anti-union policies.
ALEC’s success has been its ability to operate in secret and to gain access to legislators while providing an anonymous cover for its corporate sponsors to press their agenda. The organization continues to remain a threat because it pushes model legislation in all 50 states.
Founded in 1973, ALEC supports free market principles and courts financial support from various foundations, including those controlled by the billionaire Koch Brothers.