FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Progress Michigan, Common Cause & Michigan Citizen Action
Monday, August 13, 2012
CONTACT: Jessica Tramontana, 517-974-6302, firstname.lastname@example.org
24 current lawmakers belong to shadowy corporate lobby group ALEC
LANSING – Citizens groups released a new report today showcasing the corporate drafting of multiple Michigan laws, including voter suppression, education, and health care legislation. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a secretive “bill mill” that links state legislators with big corporate lobbyists, who draft model legislation that directly benefits their bottom lines at the expense of Michigan families. The report, ALEC Exposed in Michigan, highlights multiple bills that are clear cut-and-paste jobs from ALEC model legislation.
“Michigan citizens have a right to know who is writing our laws,” said Zack Pohl, Executive Director of Progress Michigan. “It’s time for Michigan legislators to cut ties with ALEC and focus on rebuilding our economy and strengthening the middle class.”
The report shows that at least 20 corporation-friendly bills recently introduced in the Michigan legislature closely echo ALEC model bills. House Bill 5221, which was introduced by Rep. Dave Agema (R-Grandville) and requires voters to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote, is a blatant cut-and-paste job from ALEC’s “Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act.”
“Michigan should be encouraging all eligible voters to have their say and cast a ballot, not making the process harder,” said Melanie McElroy, Executive Director of Common Cause Michigan. “Every eligible voter who wants to vote should not be turned away because of complicated and confusing rules. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what this ALEC model bill is intended to do – confuse voters and suppress the vote.”
In 2011, Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills) introduced “The Michigan Health Care Freedom Act,” which allows Michigan to opt out of the Affordable Care Act. Much of the language of HB 4050 is the same or very similar to ALEC’s “Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act.”
“This ALEC model bill is bad medicine for Michigan,” said Linda Teeter, Executive Director of Michigan Citizen Action. “We need our elected officials to focus on protecting the health of Michigan citizens, not the profits of big corporations and CEOs. It’s time for lawmakers to follow the GM’s lead and drop their ALEC memberships once and for all.”
Following public pressure from citizens groups, General Motors officially cut ties with ALEC last month. Since this spring, 32 corporations and 4 non-profits have publicly announced that they are cutting ties with ALEC due to the organization’s support for Voter ID and so-called “Stand Your Ground” gun laws.
Currently, 24 Michigan lawmakers have known ties to ALEC, including 13 committee chairs. The list of current Representatives includes: Dave Agema, Jud Gilbert, Gail Haines, Ken Horn, Eileen Kowall, Ken Kurtz, Matt Lori, Pete Lund, Tom McMillin, Aric Nesbitt, Amanda Price & Mike Shirkey. The list of Senators includes: Darwin Booher, Bruce Caswell, Mike Green, Geoff Hansen, Dave Hildenbrand, Rick Jones, Mike Kowall, Arlan Meekhoff, John Moolenaar, Mike Nofs, David Robertson & Tonya Schuitmaker.