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Earlier this week I wrote an article on Pennsylvania House Bill 1077, The Woman's Right to Know Act. A bill, which would require medical providers to offer an ultrasound prior to an abortion. HB1077 was forwarded to the floor from the PA House Committee on Health with a 15-7 vote on Feb 6, and  appears on the legislative calender for March 12th. Since, the Majority Leader is a co-sponsor of the bill, it would be safe to assume it has a decent chance of being heard. HB1077, has received a lot of backlash, and in the wake of the Virginia bill it has left this writer wondering, where these bills come from.

The question I pondered is who could be behind this legislation requiring a medically unnecessary procedure and purely ideological based bill. Then I remembered the Progressive Media Workshop I attended in Madison, Wisconsin last October and Wisconsin State Assemblyman Mark Pocan who told us about a shadowy group bringing conservative legislators and corporations together. I know it sounds like a mystical conspiracy of JFK like proportions. However, in the current days of Super-PACS and Citizens United it is nearly impossible to know who is funding what and where some of these bills are coming from. ALEC may be the answer.

According to the Center for Media and Democracy,

ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line. (http://www.sourcewatch.org/...)
Furthermore, the American Legislative Exchange, or ALEC as it is more commonly known claims it,
has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law. ((http://www.sourcewatch.org/...))
with ALEC being one of the forefronts of the conservative ideological infrastructure it lead me to ask the question, is HB1077 one of those model bills.

Of course, I'm not some big time New York Times investigative reporter, with an entire news department, credentials and sources galore. However, I decided to look into this dilemma as a concerned citizen. I cross referenced the proposed bills co-sponsors with the members of ALEC, reported by the Center for Media and Democracy. In a matter of minutes, I found Rep. Rapp (R-65) and 23 other PA Reps are listed as having ties to ALEC, and everyone of her 23 fellow Rep/ALEC members cosponsored the bill; including the Democrats cosponsoring the bill.

Then I took a look at Virginia Delegate Kathy Byron (R-22), sponsor of Virginia controversial ultrasound bill, who I found is a proud member of ALEC. Her webpage she proclaims it under her memberships and touts her Telecommunication Task Force assignment, an assignment she shares with among many other PA ALEC State Chairman and bill cosponsor Representative John Evans (R-5).

I for one would like to see this whole arrangement investigated more, I don't claim to have the know how, or time to dig into the case completely. Whether it be through legislation that requires more transparency, or a reporter in the heralded spirit of those muckrakers of the past. Pennsylvanian's deserve to know who is behind the legislation we are seeing. If these bills are one of the 1000's ALEC claims  to be pawning off on willing ideologues. The only special interests that our local, state and federal elected officials should represent is the constituents, not some faction of conservative extremism.

Originally posted to Rich Bergen on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 07:37 AM PST.

Also republished by American Legislative Transparency Project.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends... that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them. (Adlai Stevenson)

    by ProgressMoShuffle on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 07:37:48 AM PST

  •  Wish I could find the link (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sanuk

    but i saw a story this week that a legislator, either from GA or AL as I recall, had an ownership interest in a company that made ultrasound equipment.  If it turned out he were an ALEC member, the whole thing would make sick, perverted sense.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 07:56:54 AM PST

  •  Time for some bill matching, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sanuk, marina

    this is where ALEC resistance can get a bit tedious. You can go to ALEC Exposed and, usually, find the "model legislation" for the bill you're interested in. I couldn't find HB1077 with a quick look, but that doesn't mean it isn't listed at the site. I did find this: Pennsylvania ALEC Report.

  •  ALEC is behind Rahm's "school reform" agenda. (0+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 09:01:31 AM PST

  •  One of the industries that has been (0+ / 0-)

    hardest hit by Medicaid and Medicare fraud enforcement by the Justice Department is the medical devices industry.  Indeed, a goodly portion of the increased cost of medical care can be ascribed to the use of packaged instruments and "appliances" and disposables.  So, if what was obviously a lucrative fraudulent customer base has been significantly curtailed, it makes sense that they'd try legal means to create a demand.  It might, for example, make sense to inquire whether the ultra-sound wands are going to be one-use disposables -- i.e. a reliable revenue stream to make up for the revenue lost when pregnancies are not carried to term.

    It's not unusual for ideology to be used as a substitute for the profit motive.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 11:11:56 AM PST

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