by Brian Washington
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Politicians looking to trade their votes for lavish gifts recently engaged in three days of backroom dealing in Washington, D.C. that will eventually result in legislation in your state designed to help corporations make a profit at the expense of the environment and off the backs of children, educators, and working Americans.
Those politicians attending the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) policy summit earlier this month in Washington, DC, will be getting cozy with some of the richest corporations in the country. The sole purpose of the secret gathering is to come up with bills lawmakers can use as templates in their own states to move the agenda of the nation’s richest 1-percent.
It’s already happening in Wisconsin, where an ALEC politician has just introduced legislation designed to silence workers’ voices by undermining their unions. And in Missouri, politicians there have introduced a similar bill that takes its wording directly from the ALEC playbook.
However, there is some good news. Noticeably absent from this year’s summit were representatives from Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook as well as several other tech giants. These groups broke ties with ALEC over its policies attacking global warming and renewable energy.
Everyone understands climate change is occurring and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place,” said Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt when asked on a national radio program what made Google dump ALEC. “And so we should not be aligned with such people — they (ALEC) are just, they’re just literally lying.
Almost 100 companies have dropped their ALEC memberships since the deadly 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida. ALEC was the primary backer of the “Stand Your Ground” law that has become inextricably linked to the teen’s death.
But don’t count ALEC out just yet—especially after the November elections which saw conservatives take control of 68 of the 98 state legislative bodies nationwide. This means you can expect to see more attacks on public education budgets in state governments across the country in the form of vouchers, which use public dollars to pay for private school tuition costs, and huge cuts to public school funding.
According to ALEC’s executive director, last month’s elections were “a historic victory for limited government, free markets and federalism”—which, with ALEC involved, spells trouble for children, educators, and public schools.
Meanwhile, ALEC has spawned a new group to attack children, American workers, and public education. It’s called the American City County Exchange or (ACCE). ACCE will zero-in on those politicians connected to city and county governments as well as local school boards who are willing to accept ALEC’s lavish gifts in exchange for helping to move the group’s conservative, right-wing agenda.
According to newspaper reports, ACCE is already making plans to block employees from having a voice in the workplace and prevent workers from taking advantage of minimum wage increases voters overwhelmingly approved in several states including Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Click here to get the latest information about actions you can take to bolster public education in your community.