I’ve written a fair bit over the years about the influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (or ALEC), a secretive, corporate-funded group that acts as a conduit for corporations to write narrowly self-interested bills and — behind closed doors — place them in the hands of willing lawmakers to introduce in state houses and call their own. Often fellow lawmakers and the public don’t know where the bills really came from.
ALEC has popped up here in Maine’s State House a couple times this week. The latest instance, which I revealed in Wednesday’s Portland Press Herald: Governor Paul LePage’s bill to stop municipalities from passing pesticide ordinances, which mirrors the ALEC bill drafted by a task force whose members include two major national pesticide makers and their industry association. Last week, it was a bill to hamper Maine towns from building their own broadband networks when legacy cable and phone companies refused to do so.
There’s a pattern here: preemption of local control. Read the story to learn more.
ALEC was also one of the forces involved in drafting LePage’s initial rules governing digital charter schools on behalf of national providers K12 Inc and Connections Academy, the subject of this 2012 investigation.