The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a shadow legislature that has given us many lousy laws. Populated by corporate agents and Republican office-holders, ALEC passes "model bills," which its lawmaker members take to their statehouses and push into law. In 2011, news journals dragged ALEC into the light, and later pinned it as the source of the "shoot first" law that helped the killer walk in the Trayvon Martin case. With the bad press, ALEC began losing membership, and disbanded its gun proliferation and voter suppression committee. But, ALEC still drives its evident core mission to shackle democracy, and to unleash big money and mega-corporations, with such laws as those:
- to further cut taxes for big corporations and the rich,
- to further cut and privatize government services,
- to destroy public education,
- to deny the right to a labor union,
- to protect factory farms from local laws and law suits against the farms' stench and risks to public health,
- to hamper municipalities and counties from building networks and offering Internet and television service to the public,
- to ban local governments from guaranteeing workers paid sick days and living wages, and
- to ban cities and counties from curtailing GMO's and pesticide use.
For all the lousy model bills-come-law that ALEC has given us, and for those it still seeks to give us, let's give a really good model bill to ALEC. Our model bill does not need a shadow legislature. Like many of its kind, it was written and passed by a real legislature during the "Progressive Era" of the early 20th century. Our model bill does not need the input of corporate agents. It serves only the public interest, and recognizes the profit-taking corporation as a special and powerful corrupting influence on government. In fact, our model bill bans corporations and their agents, outside of narrowly defined and well-lit lobbying channels, from any try at swaying public policy. Under its terms, corporate agents voting in a shadow legislature would face prison time, and the corporation that sent them could face dissolution. From the Wisconsin law book of 1919 -- here is a model bill for ALEC:
No corporation doing business in this state shall pay or contribute, or offer consent or agree to pay or contribute, directly or indirectly, any money, property, free service of its officers or employees or thing of value to any political party, organization, committee or individual for any political purpose whatsoever, or for the purpose of influencing legislation of any kind, or to promote or defeat the candidacy of any person for nomination, appointment or election to any political office.Penalty: Any officer, employe, agent or attorney or other representative of any corporation, acting for and in behalf of such corporation, who shall violate [this act] shall be punished upon conviction by a fine of not less than one hundred nor more than five thousand dollars, or by imprisonment in the state prison for a period of not less than one nor more than five years, or by both ... and if the corporation shall be subject to a penalty then by forfeiture in double the amount of any fine so imposed ... and if a domestic corporation, it may be dissolved, ... and if a foreign or nonresident corporation, its right to do business in this state may be declared forfeited.
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