Michigan’s right-to-work bill cribs ALEC

The bill passed today takes language verbatim from ALEC's model legislation

Topics: Michigan, Labor, Unions, Right-to-work, Rick Snyder, ALEC,

The Republican-backed right-to-work bill given final approval Tuesday in Michigan contains language cribbed verbatim from a model anti-union bill created by ALEC, according to a watchdog group.

The American Legislative Exchange Council, of course, is the corporate-backed, conservative-leaning organization that has become a bugaboo for liberals by pushing legislation to do everything from roll back environmental regulation to weaken gun control laws, as brought to the fore this year by the murder of Trayvon Martin. ALEC, like lots of groups that work in state capitols, creates “model legislation” that friendly lawmakers can introduce in whole or as a basis for their own bills.

Both Michigan’s HB 4003, which affects public sector unions, and HB 4054, which affects private sector unions, appears to pull language directly from ALEC’s model right-to-work bill. The Center for Media and Democracy, a liberal watchdog group which has been working for years to expose ALEC’s activities, created these chart comparing the language:



Lots of organizations from across the political spectrum produce model legislation, but ALEC has drawn scrutiny for its lack of transparency and because it is directly funded by many of the country’s largest corporations, some of whom may have a direct interest in seeing union power diminished.

Last year, a Florida Republican lawmaker even accidently forgot to remove ALEC’s mission statement from a bill she introduced in the state legislature that was copied verbatim from ALEC’s model bill.

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

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