From the report’s executive summary:
This corporate‐funded 501(c)(3) organization…has unprecedented access to lawmakers and to the composition of the bills they pass into law. Out of Florida’s 160 state legislators, 60 have had ties with ALEC since 2010 through dues records or records of its task forces where corporate lobbyists vote as equals with legislators on “model” bills behind closed doors.
Report Exposes Profit Motive Behind Effort to Undermine Florida Public Schools
By Damien Filer
What do parent trigger bills, private school vouchers, and for-profit ‘virtual learning’ all have in common? These policies harm our public schools, and are all pushed by the shadowy corporate front group ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, in the name of corporate profits.
A new report entitled ALEC in Florida, released by Progress Florida, Florida Watch Action, People for the American Way Foundation, Common Cause and ALEC Exposed, documents the growing footprint ALEC has in Florida, including its unprecedented access to elected officials and the drafting of so-called ‘model’ legislation which extremist lawmakers then put into law. The report shows how ALEC is deeply involved in Florida’s legislative process, despite their false claims that they do not engage in lobbying, and how many of the efforts to undermine Florida’s public schools can be traced to ALEC.
Among the report’s findings:
• Out of Florida’s 160 state legislators, 60 have had ties with ALEC since 2010. Florida lawmakers’ attendance at ALEC’s 2011 annual conference held in New Orleans was “one of the strongest delegations in years.”
• ALEC’s scholarship funds are used to wine and dine ALEC Florida legislative members alongside corporate lobbyists when attending ALEC conferences, which are often held in lush resorts. As of January 1, 2011, ALEC’s Florida scholarship fund contained $46,467.30.
• ALEC provides Florida members with “issue alerts,” “talking points,” and “press release templates” expressing support or opposition to state legislation, despite its claims that “ALEC does not lobby in any state.”
• ALEC has made many efforts to push bills encouraging school privatization through Florida's legislature, under the guise of so-called parent triggers, charter schools, and virtual schools.
Matthew Ladner, one of ALEC’s most prominent advisors on education policy and a former education advisor to former Gov. Jeb Bush, recently received a “Lifetime Bunkum Award” from the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder for promoting false and misleading information in pushing ALEC’s school choice agenda.
ALEC and its members have supported and pushed some of Florida’s most dangerous assaults on our schools. If Florida lawmakers truly support our public schools, they will renounce their affiliation with ALEC and stop supporting these corporate attacks on public education.
To read the report, go to http://media.progressflorida.org/files/alecinflorida.pdf.
More on ALEC
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the group named ALEC and how it influences corporate interests in state policy. Most people are unaware of the existence or reach of ALEC which has played an extraordinary role in shaping pro-corporate legislation and education policy. Members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (primarily lawmakers, policy makers and big money makers) agree on and vote to all support model legislation in their home districts. This is all done behind closed doors, hidden from hardworking Floridians, without the press or any public presence. Then the state legislators return to their state house and introduce those ALEC-born bills cleansed from any fact that they were pre-voted on by corporate lobbyists. Read more about ALEC.
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