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View Diary: Koch, ALEC and giant utility company about to derail Arizona's private solar industry (184 comments)

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  •  There is something of one, (7+ / 0-)

    though the NN'10 panel at which I heard about it included Jefferson Davis and Kyrsten Sinema, both of whom (for very different reasons) have seen their progressive star power diminish rather drastically since then …

    Anyway. So yeah, in theory there's some sort of support network for state-level progressive legislation, but they don't seem to be a very big deal.

    Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
    Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
    Code Monkey like you!

    Formerly known as Jyrinx.

    by Code Monkey on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 10:35:28 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  that's unfortunate. (8+ / 0-)

      ALEC is doing nothing illegal. I don't understand why we simply don't do the same or help grow the effort started.

      Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility (not an original but rather apt)

      by terrypinder on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 10:49:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  well one problem is that ALEC is a group (24+ / 0-)

        consisting of persons (Corporations) who have a vested economic interest in the laws they get passed.  ALEC is involved in solar energy to preserve the profits of ALEC affiliated companies.  Not only can they use corporation profits to organize, they can grease the skids with campaign contributions (bribes).  There doesn't seem any corporation that would similarly benefit from progressive legislation.  Thus we have significantly less money behind our efforts which leads to weaker organizations and less political support.  

        Our counter to ALEC is populism.  

        •  burlyd - corporate campaign contributions vary (8+ / 0-)

          by state. In some states they are allowed and others they are prohibited. There are no corporate campaign contributions allowed for candidates for federal offices. The Tillman Act of 1907 is still in full force and effect. What corporations can do post Citizens United, at every level of government, is to make independent expenditures that are not coordinated with any official campaign or candidate.

          I am in the camp that we need a progressive alternative to ALEC that does the exact same kind of work ALEC does. They have shown us the model, and we should have copied it decades ago.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 11:06:41 AM PST

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          •  there is a SC case up right now (0+ / 0-)

            to decide if CU applies at state races, in which case
            it's Mary Bar the door, for corporations buying statehouses.

            •  pat - which case is that? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              patbahn

              Last term the Court struck down the Montana restrictions on political spending by corporations. The case was American Traditional Partnership v Bullock. Here is a press report.

              http://thehill.com/...

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 08:07:53 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  sorry it's an FEC case (0+ / 0-)
                WASHINGTON -- On Oct. 8, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will argue to the Supreme Court that all campaign contribution limits should be eliminated and that candidates should be able to accept unlimited donations.

                Although McConnell is not a party in the case of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court has granted the Senate minority leader time during oral argument to present his views: that campaign contribution limits are an unconstitutional burden on free speech and that the court should give contribution limits a higher level of scrutiny than it has in the past. McConnell will be represented by lawyer Bobby Burchfield.

                McCutcheon v. FEC challenges the aggregate limit on donations to federal candidates, political parties and political action committees, which bars an individual donor from giving more than $123,200 in total during the 2014 election cycle. McConnell wants to go much further by forcing courts to treat all campaign contribution limits as they treat campaign expenditure limits, which were found to be an unconstitutional burden on First Amendment rights in the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision.

        •  does populism write test legislation? (6+ / 0-)

          and then pass that test legislation along to legislators?

          our counter to ALEC should be our own ALEC, fueled by populism, perhaps.

          Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility (not an original but rather apt)

          by terrypinder on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 11:15:26 AM PST

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          •  Writing legislation isn't that hard. (12+ / 0-)

            its getting people to pass and adopt that legislation that is the challenge.  ALEC's ability to write legislation isn't what has made them so successful.  

            If you go to the any number of progressive organization websites, they have many, many reams of prospective legislation.  They just don't have the persuasive powers (money) to see that legislation enacted.  

            •  perhaps they should combine into one (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Odysseus, radical simplicity

              organization. I can afford to donate time an effort to only one organization, not the alphabet soup of progressive non-profits.

              Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility (not an original but rather apt)

              by terrypinder on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 12:20:16 PM PST

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            •  Beg to differ (12+ / 0-)
              Writing legislation isn't that hard.
              Actually writing legislation is hard. Which is why many, if not most state legislators, don't write the text of legislation themselves.  

              Since at least the 1820s, most state legislatures have codified state law which means that the text of bills is actually not very intuitive.

              Almost all new laws will require editing existing state code, which means that you have to specify which sections of the existing code is being retained, and what is new.  This can get quite technical. Do it wrong, and you new law has an unintended effect.

              http://www.economicpopulist.org

              by ManfromMiddletown on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 12:38:33 PM PST

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              •  yep. (5+ / 0-)

                all the more for progressives to get behind an effort to develop their own ALEC. Many states are simply not hiring more legislative assistants, and they don't pay them all that well too.

                I've written my share of bill analyses in my day job for higher-ups. It's not intuitive; this is 100% correct.

                Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility (not an original but rather apt)

                by terrypinder on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 12:50:26 PM PST

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                •  I remember an incident (5+ / 0-)

                  where the write-up was a real cock-up on a bill.  It's a huge shock when you realize that for the most part laws don't refer to counties or cities by name.  They specify them as cities between such and such population and such and such population.  Long story made short.  One of the other interns had a typo when writing up the bill.  So a county got a judge it wasn't meant to get.  This would be the sort of thing we're talking about.

                  The point about legislative assistants is a very good one.  If we really want to fight the influence of ALEC on public policy, one of the more effective ways might be to press state legislatures, and legislative service agencies, to beef up their staff.

                  http://www.economicpopulist.org

                  by ManfromMiddletown on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 01:21:04 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  well there are ways to do that. (0+ / 0-)

                Complex.

                Edit the bill language that created the statutes.
                Most people can never figure out what's going on
                this way.

                Hard

                Edit the statutes, saying "Replace Line 57 with these lines
                until Line 72".

                Straightforward

                Replace  Section 72 of Chapter X with This with changes highlighted only for legislative purposes.

        •  You could see similar schemes underway... (16+ / 0-)

          here in our neck of the woods....

          Driving across rural Western PA, you come upon big billboards calling for an end to the "massive subsidies" given to wind and solar power.

          When you realize that you are driving through coal country, where posters decrying Obama's "War on Coal" were wallpapered across yards throughout the region during the 2010 election campaign, you understand where these folks are coming from.

          Of course they never mention the HUGE subsidies which have been given to the oil industry for decades, even as they were earning their largest profits in history.

          Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

          by dweb8231 on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 12:10:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  a progressive version of ALEC could do just that. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Buckeye Nut Schell, phonegery

            Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility (not an original but rather apt)

            by terrypinder on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 12:18:58 PM PST

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            •  There is one and it is a very good one. (5+ / 0-)

              Based out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It is called ALICE. Check it out. Volunteers are always welcome.

              Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
              Economic
              Left/Right: -7.75
              Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

              by Bud Fields on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 03:23:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Links always help (0+ / 0-)

                It is not trivial to search for this ALICE.

                Welcome to ALICE, the one-stop web-based public library of progressive state and local laws.  The library includes model laws, meaning suggested general language for a law, ready to be tailored to a particular jurisdiction; "exemplary" laws that have been introduced or enacted somewhere and are worthy of replication; and various types of "supports" that help to make the argument for particular laws.  The ALICE library now houses over 1,500 exemplary laws, model laws, and supporting research documents! [That's a lot of Diary topics!]

                As the ALICE library continues to grow, we value your input on, and contributions to, its content. You can help us continue to grow the library by sharing your ideas for model laws and submitting progressive laws and supporting documents. You can also sign up to draft a model law for the project.  To get started- visit our ALICE Priorities page to choose a policy topic for your model law and then sign up to draft here.

                ALICE: A progressive counterpoint to ALEC
                Judith Davidoff on Thursday 10/11/2012
                The Page

                ALICE collects proposals from many organizations, such as the Center for American Progress, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and so on, and also laws actually enacted in many states. It invites you to propose a law and start drafting it. I should suggest my Unbalanced Budget Amendment to require lowering taxes and increasing expenditures in recessions, and raising taxes and cutting back expenses in boom times, especially during bubbles that are going to produce crashes. Or a bill to require the use of Open Educational Resources in schools, since electronic textbooks on low-cost computers with Free Software for education cost much less than printed textbooks. Or, on the topic of this Diary, how to expand renewable power and cut back on fossil carbon in several dozen ways at once. I can, of course, go on in this vein at any length that you could stand, and much longer.

                Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

                by Mokurai on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 12:23:49 PM PST

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        •  When I see Capitalism reach deeply into government (0+ / 0-)

          in order to affect laws that reduce wages and give themselves subsidies I can hear the founding fathers rolling over in their graves. Campaign reform is the obvious first fix which would reduce ALEC's hold on government but it may be too late already. ALEC is a cancer that has already metastasized.

      •  ALEC is doing very much illegal. Fixed, n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Capt Crunch, marina

        Nurse Kelley says my writing is brilliant and my soul is shiny - who am I to argue?
        Economic
        Left/Right: -7.75
        Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

        by Bud Fields on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 03:20:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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