Sunday, July 12, 2015

AFSCME | Missouri Republicans Cut and Paste ALEC’s Dangerous Ideas

AFSCME | Missouri Republicans Cut and Paste ALEC’s Dangerous Ideas

The founders of our democracy envisioned lawmaking as a serious and
deliberative process.  Chosen for their qualifications to craft complex
statutes, representatives would work late into the night, making tough
compromises to solve problems while trying to uphold the values of their

Or if you’re a Republican member of the Missouri State Legislature, you just copy, paste, and call it a day.

Earlier this month, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed Senate Bill 508,
which would make it harder for people to buy health insurance through
the Affordable Care Act.  But Nixon didn’t veto it for that reason.  The
bill was based on sample legislation provided by the American
Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing think tank, and the
legislature failed to remove some generic filler text before introducing
the bill.  As a result, the final bill referred to the wrong chapters
of state code.

“It appears that in copy and pasting from this ALEC model act, the
General Assembly failed to correct this incorrect reference,” Nixon
wrote in his veto letter.

The lawmakers’ inability to proofread a 15-page bill is enough to
make headlines, but the real scandal is the way that Washington think
tanks and conservative donors have come to call the shots in Missouri as the state’s Republicans push an agenda lifted straight from the ALEC playbook.

If Missouri lawmakers want to see where their copy-and-paste strategy
leads, they need look no further than neighboring Kansas, where the
legislature has already implemented ALEC’s agenda with the blessing of
Gov. Sam Brownback.  In 2012 Kansas enacted a massive tax cut for
corporations and the wealthy.  As a result, the state’s credit rating has been downgraded, public schools are struggling to stay afloat, and job growth has stagnated.

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