Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com
I don’t know for sure, but Alia Beard Rau’s recent piece looks like it started to be about the influence that American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Goldwater Institute, and Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) have on the Republican-controlled AZ Legislature, but then she was pressured by an editor to make it a “both sides” thing. Or maybe not, but whatever happened, the article is a testament to the incredible lengths the MSM will go to imply that the left is as powerful and corrupt as the right is.
Across the nation, state legislatures this year have been considering bills to expand education choices, restrict union influence and guarantee employees sick time off. In state after state, including Arizona, the wording of those bills is nearly identical. And it’s no coincidence.
Rather, it’s an orchestrated use of “model legislation” by national political organizations on both sides of the aisle that have discovered it’s easier to change national policy one state at a time than to get anything through Congress.
The lede’s absurd implication is that Republicans and Democrats in the AZ lege are introducing boatloads of bills in equal amounts. Rau demonstrates just how absurd it is by following that passage up with a litany of introduced Republican bills, including SB1062, SB1070, school privatization, and ghastly anti-choice bills, inspired by national right wing organizations.
ALEC has been the most successful of these groups. Member lawmakers nationwide, including several in Arizona, introduce more than a hundred pieces of model legislation each year.
ALEC, due to its liberal critics, is also the most vilified. But it isn’t alone in using the strategy.
Americans United for Life has developed a similar blueprint for anti-abortion measures. The liberal Progressive States Network has model legislation guaranteeing sick and paid time off.
The Arizona-based Goldwater Institute is pushing bills in legislatures nationwide to give dying patients access to experimental drugs and regulate health-care navigators who help people get coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The 10th Amendment Foundation has bills requiring state employees to refuse to enforce federal gun restrictions and to refuse to help the federal government spy on Americans’ cellphone calls without warrants.
All these bills have been introduced in the Arizona Legislature.
Arizona lawmakers interact with these groups in various ways, including accepting campaign contributions from the political action committees of corporations connected to the groups.
And what bills from national liberal organizations have Democrats even introduced?
This session, Rep. Jonathan Larkin, D-Glendale, has House Bill 2585, which would require businesses to allow employees to accrue at least one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. The wording is nearly identical to model legislation from the liberal Progressive States Network.
Yeah, that one’s looking pretty dead. But desperate false equivalences call for more desperate rationalizations so the article ends with lists of Republican legislators belonging to ALEC and Democratic ones affiliated with Progressive States Network (one Sen. Katie Hobbs) and NALEO, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (all the Hispanic lawmakers). I’m not aware of any NALEO model state legislation having been proposed this session but it must have seemed necessary to tack an organization with several Democratic members onto the article for that all-important “balance”.
I don’t think it’s possible to miss a point any further. The problem has never been lawmakers belonging to groups – even ones that recommend legislation. It’s which groups and what legislation. Perhaps the families of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis could explain to the folks at the Arizona Republic the crucial differences between ALEC and the Progressive States Network.