Scott Walkers crazy SB1 and SB2 the first day he was in office is what started me on my pursuit for information on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) . Unbeknownst to all of us at the time – Walker was being the “poster child” of ALEC with those two pieces of Wisconsin ALEC pro-business legislation.
Last month Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton vetoed ALEC’s pro-business tort reform legislation that was passed by the Minnesota legislature. At the time he made the statement he was holding up an ALEC publication.
The ALEC pro-business tort reform legislation is passed out to ALEC members in that ALEC publication being held up by Governor Dayton.
More below the squiggle...
The ALEC pro-business tort reform legislation is passed out to ALEC members in the ALEC publication.
There’s a lot of pro-business tort reform in that publication – too much for one entry – but today I want to take a couple of the items and point them toward ALEC’s war on women.
Caps on Non-Economic Damages: Placing caps on the amount that can be recovered for non-economic losses can be an effective way of rationing damages to avoid excessive awards. ALEC’s Non-EconomicMy questions on these three items have always been:
Damages Awards Act would cap non-economic damages at $250,000.
ALEC developed the Reliability in Expert Testimony Standards Act to help states align themselves with the fairer federal standard and to keep junk science from bringing about poor verdicts in state courts.
Class Actions Improvements Act: Class action cases have been a tool for “regulation through litigation,” the use of the legal system to coerce industries to regulate themselves for fear of litigation.
ALEC developed the Class Actions Improvements Act to reign in the abuse of the class action mechanism
If a business causes you irreparable harm – including death:
* How much do you think your life is worth? Is $250,000 what your life is worth?
* Who determines what the “real science” is – right wing extremists
like the Reason Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, or the
Cato Institute in coordination with ALEC
corporate profit sector members?
* Why should industry not be held “in fear” of the possibility of litigation?
If they cause irreparable harm or death – are we suppose to
let them decide the consequences for their harmful actions?
Well on to the next point.
According to ALEC in a 1998 "Issues Analysis":
The recent failure of the United States Senate to invoke cloture on a modest federal product liability bill, despite bipartisan sponsorship and support, has focused renewed attention on the efficacy of one of the most visible single-issue special interest groups in our nation’s capital, and in most statehouses – the plaintiff bar, better known as trial lawyer.And what are some of the things these horrible trial lawyers working on?
Just to name a few – I can’t do them all, there’s too many :
ACTOS is a prescription medication used with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar (glucose) control in adults with type 2 diabetes.Roche Pharmaceuticals
Several recent studies have shown a much stronger link between Actos and bladder cancer than was indicated during clinical trials.
Accutane (isotretinoin) is a strong oral medication used in the treatment of severe acne in patients who have not had success with other skin treatments. Initially used as a chemotherapy agent to treat cancer patients, researchers noted the ability of the medication to treat whiteheads, red pimples and blackheads associated with acne.DePuy (a Division of Johnson & Johnson)
Serious side effects such as liver disease, depression and ulcerative colitis have been linked to Accutane use.
Complications involvingthe DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System total hip replacement and ASR Hip Resurfacing System have prompted hundreds of patients to file lawsuits against DePuy Orthopaedics, the manufacturer of the hip devicesBayer Pharmaceuticals
Women who have experiencedthe following conditions due to the use of Yaz or Yasmin may be entitled to compensation:Abbott Pharmaceuticals
•Deep vein thrombosis
Depakote, an anticonvulsant commonly used to treat epilepsy, bipolar disorder and other psychiatric conditions, has recently been linked to an increased risk of several birth defects when taken during pregnancy.Boehringer Ingelheim
Pradaxa® has been prescribed as part of an overall treatment regimen for reducing the risk of stroke and blood clots (systemic embolism) in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation since October 2010.I’ve bolded and italicized the companies that have been found to be affiliated with ALEC.
People taking Pradaxa® may have suffered from an increased risk of serious bleeding events, heart attack or acute coronary syndrome. The FDA recently announced its ongoing analysis of a possible link between Pradaxa® and an increased incidence of serious bleeding events based on post-marketing adverse event reports.
Although Pradaxa® continues to remain on the shelves of drug stores in the United States, the drug is under an ongoing investigation by the FDA. The European Medicine Agency is also conducting its own evaluation of the risk of serious bleeding events associated with Pradaxa® based on adverse event reports since the drug's launch.
And then there are these little bits of relevant information that are directly related to the lawsuits above and pertain to women.
Diabetes:The prevalence of diabetes is at least 2 – 4 times higher among African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, and Asian/Pacific Islander women than among white women. The risk for diabetes also increases with age. Because of the increasing lifespan of women and the rapid growth of minority populations, the number of women in the United States at high risk for diabetes and its complications is increasing.
Severe Acne: For many women, acne can be an upsetting illness. Women may have feelings of depression, poor body image, or low self-esteem. But you don't have to wait to outgrow acne or to let it run its course. Today, almost every case of acne can be resolved. Acne also can, sometimes, be prevented. Talk with your doctor or dermatologist (a doctor who specializes in treating skin problems) about how you can help prevent acne and if treatment would help you.
Hip Replacements: Arthritis is the leading cause of joint replacements. And because women have higher rates of arthritis than men, some 60% of joint replacement surgeries are performed on women.
Pregnancy: 100% women
Stroke: •425,000 women suffer from stroke each year, 55,000 more than men.
Blood Clots: Men may actually have a higher overall risk of thrombosis than women, but women have risks due to pregnancy, birth control and postmenopausal hormone therapy that men do not. These risks are generally attributed to estrogen, a key ingredient in birth control pills, patches, and rings, and in postmenopausal hormone therapy.Then you have these quick snips about people who seek medical care:
It may come as a complete surprise to you to find out that women pay much more for the same health insurance coverage than men of the same age.Therefore it could be deduced that because women go to the doctor more often they will be prescribed pharmaceuticals and medical devices earlier than men and more than men – because women seek medical care more often.
Some studies – cited by health insurance companies – show that women aged 19 to 55 are responsible for needing much more healthcare than men of nearly any age group.
Ironically, because women are more conscious of their healthcare and visit doctors more regularly than men, health insurers charge that they cost more to insure than men.
I hope that what has been posted above will help to illustrate with facts and examples the statements that were posted today in an opinion piece on Reuters.
Although I am only giving you snips from the article - I strongly recommend you take the time to read the whole thing.
The secretive corporate outfit behind ‘Stand Your Ground’About this time last year - ALEC sent out a letter to their state chairs noting members of the DK Exposing ALEC and Abolish ALEC groups as "radical opponents". I wear that title proudly and I hope each and everyone of you will continue to join us in being radical opponents to the heinous and despicable organization – ALEC.
By Joanne DoroshowApril 13, 2012
In fact, preventing access to the civil courts for everyday Americans is a pervasive theme that runs through ALEC’s entire, corporate-backed agenda. ALEC has an entire division devoted just to preventing injured people from holding wrongdoers accountable in court. Its very active Civil Justice Task Force is co-chaired by Victor Schwartz, general counsel of the American Tort Reform Association, a corporate group seeking to limit the liability of its corporate members.
The problem with these laws is not only that they allow wrongdoers to escape accountability for what they do. They also discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age and income, ...
When a bill passed Congress in 1996 that would make it more difficult to bring negligent product manufacturers to court (similar to various ALEC bills), President Bill Clinton vetoed the bill, stating that the legislation’s focus on non-economic damages was “especially unfair to senior citizens, women, children, who have few economic damages, and poor people.”
Women are also disproportionately harmed by ALEC “tort” legislation. Some ALEC bills would go even further than federal bills and completely immunize the pharmaceutical industry for manufacturing unsafe drugs and medical devices, which they’ve brought to market under lax government rules. .
University of Buffalo law professor Lucinda Finley, who has written extensively about jury verdicts, found that: “Reproductive or sexual harm caused by drugs and medical devices has a highly disproportionate impact on women, because far more drugs and devices have been devised to control women’s fertility or bodily functions associated with sex and childbearing than have been devised for men.”
History shows that many such drugs and devices were made safer only after women and their families filed lawsuits against those responsible. Immunizing the pharmaceutical industry means that women will no longer have any recourse. The same can certainly be said for the increasingly medicine-dependent senior citizen population.
In closure I would like to snip and rephrase an earlier ALEC quote as the focus of our attention:
… one of the most visible multi-issue special interest groups in our nation’s capital, and in most statehouses – the American Legislative Exchange Council, better known as ALEC.