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A "Smart ALEC" in Tennessee

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011   

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Much of what appears to be a home-grown conservative agenda actually is being generated by corporate interests far from Tennessee, a watchdog group says.

The Center for Media and Democracy has been studying the American Legislative Exchange (ALEC), and says the group supplies pre-packaged bills that have been introduced in scores of states including Tennessee. Mary Bottari, director of the center's Real Economy Project, says these ALEC-inspired bills have had a huge impact in the state, on issues such as collective bargaining, tort reform and unions.

"The attacks on unions across the country, 'right-to-work' bills, 'paycheck-protection' bills."

ALEC bills, which largely benefit the organization's corporate members, have been introduced in legislatures in every state - but without disclosing to the public that corporations previously drafted or voted on them through ALEC, Bottari says. More than 800 ALEC-inspired bills are listed on a website, ALECexposed.org, which was created by the center. ALEC supporters say they simply offer conservative lawmakers a resource when drafting legislation.

Many bills that have appeared to be home-grown in Tennessee have roots with ALEC, Bottari says.

"The public never knows that the bill was drafted by a corporation and approved by a corporation, because that process takes place behind the scenes at ALEC."

ALEC has longstanding roots in Tennessee, the center says, going back to the late 1980s and early '90s.

More information is on the website, ALECexposed.org.


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