ALEC Focuses on “Woke Capitalism,” Bodily Autonomy and More at Annual Meeting

Adherents of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have come together this week for their first big meeting of the year to take on “woke capitalism,” women’s right to abortion, voting rights, China, Big Tech, the administrative state, and more.

ALEC’s annual meeting at the four-star Hilton Hotel in downtown Atlanta features speakers such as billionaire school privatization advocate (and Trump’s controversial secretary of education) Betsy DeVos, anti-ESG activist Vivek Ramaswamy, publishing mogul Steve Forbes, and former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, among others.

ALEC is a pay-to-play operation where state legislators and corporate lobbyists meet behind closed doors to write model legislation that pushes a radical right-wing, pro-corporate, and pro-Republican agenda on everything from suppressing voters’ rights and denying climate change to crushing unions and undermining public education.

The meeting kicked off last night with a celebration of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on Roe v. Wade over “late night dessert and coffee” with the extremist anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America(SBA) is seeking a complete ban on abortion in all states, with no exceptions.

ALEC issued a statement shortly after the ruling. statement supporting the Court’s decision, saying that state legislators should have “the authority to decide what is best” for women and their personal health — especially if they may not wish to continue an unplanned pregnancy.

This reception follows a March training for ALEC leaders, led by SBA (former Wisconsin Gov.). Scott Walker (R). The session was focused on the state-by-state prospects of enacting complete abortion bans in the wake the eagerly awaited Supreme Court decision. It also addressed how politicians should spin the subject to win in the midterm elections. Center for Media and Democracy reported.

ALEC has been a secretive forum that allowed SBA to communicate with its members for many years. But, since the Dobbs Decision overturned RoeIn June, they felt more empowered to hold these conversations more openly.

ALEC legislators can also attend state dinners hosted at corporate lobbyists’ expense. Inaugural Leadership DinnerThe dark money-funded voter suppression group Honest Elections ProjectWednesday evening (HEP).

ALEC has repeatedly lied about voter suppression bills. CMD exposedWith a videoShowing Lisa Nelson, CEO of ALEC, at a May 2021 event Council for National Policy meeting stating, “We don’t have model policy…. That will be developed at the Honest Elections Project [seminar], through them.”

ALEC held voter suppression academies in the past with HEP just before its merger with HEP. 2021 Annual MeetingThe 2021 States and Nation Policy Summit.

Combating “Woke Capitalism”

In the wake Energy Discrimination Elimination Act unanimously passed by ALEC’s Environment, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force last December, the organization’s war against “woke capitalism” has emerged as a dominant theme at the Atlanta meeting.

CMDFirst reportedThe controversial energy bill would allow states to blacklist companies that have stopped using fossil fuels. The model was introduced in 13 states, and passed in four others. However, ALEC tried to distance itself from this measure by not making it an official model bill.

ALEC lawmakers will be in debate this time. AmendmentsTo its 2021 Resolution Opposing Securities and Exchange Commission and White House Mandates on Climate-Related Financial MattersThe text was rewritten by, to promote a Republican election talking-point blaming the Biden government for high gas prices.

ALEC members will also take into consideration amendmentsTo its State Government Employee Retirement Protection Act. Initially passed by its Tax and Fiscal policy Task Force in March, the revised model policy would prohibit anyone managing state-, local-, or university-public pensions from taking into consideration the climate emergency and other social or political factors while investing in pension funds.

Meeting attendees also have the opportunity to participate in workshops with titles like “Less Woke, More Work — How to Protect America from the Far Left and Ignite the Economy,” “Woke Culture and Its Effect on African American Small Business Owners,” and “How States Can Fight Back Against ESG,” a reference to what the far-right considers the abhorrent practice of using Environmental, Social and Governance factors to evaluate companies on environment and social goals instead of simply maximizing profits for investors.

Singling Out China

ALEC has accepted a stance in favor of “unequivocal soft and hard power support for Taiwan” in recent years. In 2020, it gave Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen the International Pioneer Award for her “longstanding dedication to free-market principles.”

The organization’s focus on China is in lock-stepwith Republican leaders, GOP-aligned group such as Gov. Ron DeSantis (FL and ALEC partner Turning Point USAThese groups hold China responsible and seek to retaliate for the political and economic damage done to the country.

This year, ALEC is expanding its fight with China to take on what it views as the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to “subvert the subnational U.S. system, turning the country inside-out against itself” with several proposed model bills.

An Act to Prohibit State Contracts with Chinese Government-Owned or -Affiliated Technology Manufacturers would prevent states that pass the model bill from doing business with “any company owned or operated by” the Chinese government.

The State Infrastructure Protection Act would ban a state from entering into agreements with “foreign-owned companies” in China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, or any other “designated country” deemed by the governor to be a “threat to critical infrastructure.” This includes companies involved in a “communication infrastructure system, cybersecurity system, electric grid, hazardous waste treatment system, or water treatment facility.”

The bill is almost identical to the Lonestar Infrastructure Protection ActA Texas ALEC member sponsored the bill. The bill was introduced by state Sen. Donna Campbell (R) and quickly enacted last year in response to a Chinese billionaire’s purchase of 140,000 acres to build a wind farm near the Laughlin Air Force base. Sun Guangxin (the developer) has ties with the Chinese Communist Party. He also hired army and government officials to work on the project. Forbes.

ALEC’s proposed model Act to Prohibit This State’s Board of Regents from Investing Public University Trust Funds in Companies Associated with the Government of ChinaIt would prohibit public universities investing in companies controlled or majority-owned Chinese governments.

At this week’s meeting, ALEC is also screening The Hong KongerThe Christian Right produced the film titled, about billionaire Jimmy Lai. Acton Institute.

Big Tech is being taken on

ALEC lawmakers will debate a new strategy to exploit the pandemic to their advantage. Resolution Investigating Biden White House Pressuring of Social Media Platforms to Remove COVID Information. This would “impanel an investigation into the extent to which the Biden White House pressured social media platforms to restrict and remove information and comments related to” the pandemic.

Trump and his allies will be at the 2021 Olympics. America First Policy InstituteGoogle, Twitter, Facebook and Twitter were all sued for allegedly violating their terms of service. violating the First Amendment rights of Americans “to speak, …be heard, and [enjoy] democratic representation.”

ALEC will be established in 2020 playedAs Covid deaths soared in the U.S., a large part of the right-wing movement to resist state stay-at home orders and reopen schools was played by the group. ALEC is considering the possibility of a meeting to discuss the implications of abandoning its free-market principles. Social Media Expression ActThis would increase regulations on social media companies, and attempt to ban their own self-monitoring of harmful content and the removal of it from their platforms.

On Thursday, attendees can also attend a workshop titled “Online Platforms Under Fire.”

Renewing efforts for radical reform of the Constitution

At this week’s annual meeting, ALEC continues its aggressive push for the Constitution’s revision with its Article V Application for a Federal Fiscal Responsibility Amendments Convention to Curb Runaway Inflation and Restore Fiscal Sanity.

This latest effort calls on Congress to convene a convention that is based on bizarre math. It brings together state resolutions dating back over a century to claim the necessary threshold of 34 states was met in 1979 and that its proposed amends will somehow end inflation. The model application would allow state attorneys general to file a mandamus motion to force Congress into convening a convention.

ALEC will meet December 2021. held a half-day “Academy of States 2.0” with its member lawmakers on strategies for convening a constitutional convention to propose a whole host of revisions to the U.S. Constitution. Now its allies are hosting an “Academy of States 3.0” this Sunday in Denver.

Attack on Public Schools

ALEC meeting participants will also be hosting DeVos the school privatizer, and ALEC meeting attendees will discuss three models that would negatively affect public schools.

ALEC’s Academic Transparency Act will force public schools to post lists of all K–12 materials online, with an “optional” enforcement procedure. This model bill appears to have been influenced by the proposals of the Goldwater InstituteThe Manhattan Institute at ALEC’s December meeting in a forum sponsored by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

ALEC legislators are also up for discussion The Hope Scholarship Act, the pay-to-play group’s latest attempt to further defund public schools through an expanded Education Savings Account program. Notably, the model policy allows “education service providers” to operate outside of education policy standards — and possibly labor standards as well — when it states, “A participating school or education service provider is not required to alter its creed, practices, admission policy, hiring policy or curriculum in order to accept eligible recipients whose parents pay tuition or fees from a Hope Scholarship account pursuant to this article.”

DeVos is further pleased that ALEC has asked members to vote on its behalf. Protecting Religious Homeschooling Act, which will ensure that churches that allow religious homeschooling are tax-exempt.

Obstructing Action on Climate Change

ALEC lawmakers will be considering the proposed legislation, continuing their assault on the free markets they used to love. Electric Generation Facility Closures and Reliability ActDecide whether the state government should be able force power plant operators to remain open. The model also suggests that companies may be forced to “preserve” retired power plants for future use.

This bill would prohibit companies from switching to renewable energy sources to generate electricity in the event that a state passed it.

On Friday, ALEC’s Communications and Technology Task Force agenda includes a discussion titled “Accessing Rare Earth Minerals in the United States, Critical for Technology and National Security.” Thursday afternoon’s agenda for the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force includes discussions of “Pipelines & Major Challenges” and “Energy Affordability.”

Worsening conditions for workers

ALEC has never been friendly to workers and this year, it is no different with the introduction of the duplicitously named Protecting Businesses and Workers Act. The new model bill actually does nothing to ‘protect’ workers since it preempts local labor and contract regulations related to wages, benefits, scheduling, and hours. It would effectively ban minimum wage ordinances and local sick leave mandates if passed.

ALEC will also require its members to discuss the issue. Overtime Exceptions and Class Actions Prohibition Act. This model bill further restricts work activities that are eligible for overtime pay. It also requires employees to give written consent to being included in class actions relating overtime pay abuses.

Weakening of the Administrative State

ALEC politicians are considering two model bills to help further their efforts at weakening the power of government agencies.

The Independent Administrative Law Judges ActTo create a new State Office of Administrative Hearings, which will be headed up by a chief administrator law judge and will hear state agency adjudications.

The Federal Funds Oversight Act will create new barriers for states to get federal funding and prevent the acceptance of federal funds if it “mandates a public school in this state to teach a specific program, topic, subject, curriculum or standard,” contradicts state law, or “requires an agency to establish a new program.”

Other new model policies being considered at this week’s ALEC meeting include:

Arn Pearson contributed to the report.