Friday, April 20, 2012

ALEC and "Stand Your Ground" Laws: Recent Commentary

For readers who may have missed the following significant articles in the past week about the powerful and well-heeled lobbying group the American Legislative Council (ALEC), a selection of pieces that strike me as important:

1. At The Nation, Brentin Mock notes that even as ALEC repudiates its support for spurious voter ID laws and "stand-your-ground" laws like the one that is now under the microscope after the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida, considerable damage remains to be dealt with.  ALEC deliberately used the Florida law as a boilerplate for similar laws in other states, and has done all in its power to replicate the Florida laws elsewhere.

Mock writes, 

If it’s just about economic decisions, then why did ALEC take a gun law crafted in Florida to model and peddle to other states? While ALEC’s announcement today is a welcome victory, the bitter part of it is that a lot of damage has already been done. Over half the states in the nation have “Stand Your Ground” laws or some version of it; every state in the nation except Illinois has a law that allows gun owners to carry concealed weapons outside their homes. 

Mock also notes that there's a nasty racial subtext to both the "stand your ground" laws and the voter ID laws, and ALEC has yet to admit that subtext or face it honestly.

2.  In an article posted at The Nation the same day Mock posted his, John Nichols explains why ALEC has taken the extraordinary step of repudiating its support for "stand your ground" laws and laws suppressing minority votes: as he points out, one corporation after another in recent days has yanked its support for ALEC, because, while corporations want the right-wing economics of ALEC and its Koch-brothers funders, they do not want the mess and notoriety that are now associated with the two sets of boilerplate laws.  Not in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting and the national pushback against racially motivated gun laws that has occurred after the Florida teen was shot . . . . 

3. Finally, at Common Dreams, Abby Zimet offers a set of charts that shows you just where ALEC's dirty hands have been in the American political and economic process up to now.  The answer: just about everywhere.  Note, for instance, the interconnections in her second set of charts between ALEC, the National Rifle Association, the GOP, and Wall Street.  (It appears the top chart is from Muckety.)

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