FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Progress Michigan
March 25, 2015
Poor Attendance at Closed-Door Lansing Event Shows ALEC Power Waning
Despite complete GOP-control of legislature, only small handful of lawmakers attend corporate bill mill breakfast
LANSING — Associating with the American Legislative Exchange Council, commonly known as ALEC, is proving too toxic for even Michigan’s most right-wing lawmakers, as evidenced by the small turnout at a closed-door event in Lansing this morning. The shadowy organization acts as a corporate bill mill and works to pump out right-wing, boilerplate legislation to be used by conservative lawmakers across the country.
“Even one ALEC enthused legislator can lead to horrible public policy,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “But we are cautiously optimistic that the low turnout today at their Michigan breakfast coupled with the mass exodus of corporate backers in recent months means that their power is waning.”
The lawmakers in attendance were State Reps. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton), Peter Pettalia (R-Presque Isle), Triston Cole (R-Mancelona), Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw), Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) and State Senator Mike Green (R-Mayville). Sen. Green and Rep. Nesbitt are Michigan’s ALEC co-chairs and were listed on the invitation to the event.
The event today took place at the Michigan Health and Hospitals Association and was billed as an “Intro to ALEC Breakfast” for lawmakers. However, turnout was low for the embattled organization. In the past, ALEC has boasted a long list of Michigan lawmakers as members, but the organization’s regressive views and controversial policies like “Stand Your Ground” and “Right to Work” are driving both lawmakers and corporate sponsors to disassociate themselves with the secretive group.
ALEC has made headlines consistently over the past year as corporate sponsors have severed ties with the organization. Just recently, fossil fuel giant BP ended its relationship with ALEC. Other large companies like Google, Facebook, Yelp and Yahoo have also ended their relationship with the right-wing organization.
“ALEC bills continue to come up in the conservative Michigan legislature and across the country. However, since their shadowy operations have been brought to light, including a pledge signed by lawmakers to put ALEC’s corporate interests above those of their constituents, people aren’t buying what they are selling,” Scott stated. “Michigan citizens deserve better than cookie-cutter legislation put forward by a corporatist front group.”