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Report Details ALEC’s Influence in Ohio Lawmaking

Mike Gillis, Ohio AFL-CIO communications director, sends us this.

A new report released today by People For the American Way Foundation, Common Cause, the Center for Media and Democracy and Progress Ohio reveals the deep ties between the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Ohio state lawmakers.

ALEC in Ohio: The Corporate Special Interests that Help Write Ohio’s Laws, demonstrates ALEC’s policymaking influence with an in-depth analysis of the organization’s ties to key Ohio lawmakers, as well as a side-by-side comparison of nine ALEC “model” bills and actual Ohio legislation, including:

  • Attacks on workers by severely limiting collective bargaining, eliminating public employment through outsourcing and privatizing government functions;
  • Diminishing public education through private school voucher programs and private scholarship tax credits;
  • Encouraging the privatization of state prisons to benefit the private prison industry;
  • Voter suppression bills designed to disenfranchise thousands of eligible Americans;
  • Draconian anti-immigrant measures that criminalize undocumented workers and penalize their employers;
  • Creation of barriers for consumers and injured parties in seeking justice from corporations in a court of law;
  • Measures to prevent implementation of health care reform.

At a press conference releasing the report, Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga explained ALEC’s influence over many legislative initiatives, including SB 5, which repealed collective bargaining rights for Ohio public employees (and which Ohio voters overwhelmingly overturned in a 2011 ballot intiative). “When Ohioans overwhelmingly rejected SB 5 last year, they sent a clear message that they will not tolerate attacks on Ohio’s middle class,” said Burga.

They rejected the idea that our economic problems are the result of the workers’ rights to collectively bargain. They fully rejected that extreme political agenda and opted instead to support governance with basic fairness.

Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy, noted Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s ties to ALEC.

Ohio is led by ALEC alum John Kasich, who has long advanced the agenda of ALEC corporations to the detriment of American citizens during his time in Congress and now in the statehouse in the Buckeye state.

Burga called for legislators to cut their ties with ALEC and align themselves more closely with the interests of those they were elected to represent.

What is needed is an agenda that focuses on doing the most good for the most Ohioans rather than legislating for the narrow benefit of so few.

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