A Common Ghostwriter
Earlier this week my fellow Urban Leaguers and I joined with tens of thousands of Americans who marched through the streets of Sanford, Florida, as part of the fight for justice for Trayvon Martin. Days later, we held a protest rally at the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the American Legislative Exchange Council, which wrote and advocated for the shoot-to-kill law, also known as “Stand Your Ground,” that contributed to Trayvon’s death.
We also delivered a letter to ALEC demanding that the organization end its promotion of legislation involving firearms.
Most Americans know little about ALEC, as the Council is known. Ostensibly a pro-business organization, ALEC is responsible for some of the most destructive attempts in recent history to roll back gains in civil rights, consumer and worker protection, and social justice.
ALEC drafts model legislation, then hands the bills off to state legislators who introduce them - sometimes passing them off as their own work, sometimes not even bothering to change a word of the language.
The wave of voter suppression bills that have swept state legislatures over the last year were ghostwritten by ALEC. Efforts to repeal prevailing wage laws and workplace health and safety regulations were ghostwritten by ALEC. Legislation to limit collective bargaining rights, to dismantle consumer protections, to make it harder for political refugees to seek sanctuary, even to strip citizenship from native-born Americans, all were ghostwritten by the same secretive cabal that produced the shoot-to-kill law.
ALEC and its supporters must be held accountable for the consequences of the reckless laws they initiate and promote, as should the state lawmakers who carry out their bidding.