by David Safier
It's good to see that AZ Capitol Times is on top of the ALEC story in Arizona. Not too long ago, ALEC's model legislation mill which cranks out bills for Republicans to introduce in their state legislatures was hiding in plain sight, but over the last few years, it's getting more notice in the press. Good thing. Sunlight isn't a perfect disinfectant, but it's better for people to acknowledge ALEC's power and influence than to let it do its dirty work hidden from public view.
According to the Cap Times article, AZ legislators rank high in ALEC membership (subscription only), we have the third highest rate of ALEC membership among our lawmakers — 49%, 44 out of 90 — and the only two states that top us, Iowa and South Dakota, pay the ALEC dues, so 100% of their legislators belong.
According to Rep. Debbie Lesko,
“I guess we’re just a free-market, less-government-regulation type of state. A majority of our legislators believe in the principles of ALEC,” Lesko said.
If by free market Lesko means allowing businesses free rein in state government, she's got it right.
Also mentioned in the article.
- ALEC lost 60 of its corporate members nationwide after the Trayvon Martin shooting because of its promotion of Stand Your Gun laws. Arizona's APS was among those that left, but it returned shortly after.
- Russell Smoldon, the manager of state and local government relations for Salt River Project, is Arizona's ALEC private sector chairman.
- At last week's ALEC conference in D.C., attended by 14 AZ Republican legislators, a resolution was passed to make people with solar panels pay to help maintain the grid. The Arizona Corporation Commission went back and forth on this issue recently and ended up charging a far smaller fee than was originally recommended. APS, which left ALEC then returned to the fold, was one of the major supporters of the added user fee, and ALEC is one of the prime movers in the national anti-solar campaign which includes the fee as one of its strategies.