Wyofile's Kerry Drake wrote another excellent column Dec. 10 about the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC, This time, he wonders why Wyoming Gov. Mead traveled to a recent ALEC gathering to deliver a speech.
ALEC is the well-funded arm of conservative corporate donors such as the Koch Brothers. It drafts model retro legislation, pours it into the empty heads of conservative legislators, and sends them home to craft anti-democratic legislation that abridges workers' rights, make it harder to vote for minorities and the elderly and curtails environmental protections. ALEC was behind Florida's "make my day" gun legislation made infamous in the Trayvon Martin killing. ALEC's latest crusade is to make it illegal for homeowners to install their own solar panels, calling them "free-riders" on the U.S. energy grid. Interesting that a conservative group would use a term commonly used by union memberss to describe their non-union co-workers. Arizona has already passed such a bill. See the Dec. 4 article in the Guardian.
ALEC has found some willing dupes among Wyoming Republican legislators (see list at http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Wyoming_ALEC_Politicians). Only one Democrat was a member but did not renew his membership in 2012. All of this means we can look forward to more wacko bills when the 2014 session convenes. Expect more attempts to weaken the state employee retirement system and new and interesting ways to steal all employees' hard-earned sick and vacation days. I am a state employee and pay close attention to these types of bills. Trustees of the state retirement system have consistently asserted that the retirement system is strong and well-funded, unlike those in other states and cities. Legislation has mandated an increase in employee contributions to the fund. Other modest increases are expected and that is only fair. That hasn't stopped regressive legislators from devising ways to sabotage the entire system.
As noted western conservative Barry Goldwater once said: "Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom." Especially important for us outnumbered progressives living in a conservative state.
Read Kerry Drake's column at http://wyofile.com/kerrydrake/alec-wyoming/
Read a Dec. 12 wyofile article about Gov. Mead's ALEC speech at http://wyofile.com/dustin/matt-mead-alec/