ALEC makes public hundreds of "model" bills

The shady lobby group has published pre-written legislation under pressure from watchdog coalition

Published March 15, 2013 9:25PM (EDT)

  (Shutterstock/ suravid)
(Shutterstock/ suravid)

It's been public knowledge for a number of years that the American Legislative Exchange Council is responsible for writing model legislation for major industries and then pushing them, through Republican lawmakers, into statehouses nationwide. Until these model bills pop up on legislative agendas, however, little is known about the group's legislation penning.

On Friday, following a two-year campaign by watchdog groups, ALEC published hundreds of its model bills online. The coalition of organizations pushing for greater transparency included the Center for Media and Democracy, ColorOfChange, Common Cause, Greenpeace, People for the American Way, Progress Now and a variety of labor organizations.

The full list of model bills is available here. It includes template bills pertaining to charter schools, climate (mis)education, union-busting right to work bills, workplace drug testing laws and more.

Now the watchdog coalition will push for ALEC to reveal the identities of its corporate clients. “We’re pleased that after decades of secretly manipulating thousands of elected officials, the corporate bill mill known as ‘ALEC’ has decided to share some of its secrets,” the groups said in a joint statement. “But ALEC continues to hide from the public the identities of the corporations whose representatives wrote and voted on those bills at its meetings. It also has done nothing to reform the way it cozies up to lawmakers by providing them with 'scholarships' that cover the cost of their travel and lodging at the posh resorts where it conducts its meetings.”

CORRECTION: An early version of this post incorrectly stated that the model bills listed included legislation pertaining to Stand Your Ground laws. According to an ALEC representative, Stand Your Ground policy sunsetted for the organization last year and "is no longer endorsed by the organization."

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Alec Charter Schools Labor Rights Model Legislation Right-to-work Stand-your-ground Transparency