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This just out from with the title "No Oxygen: Michigan Media Silent As State Passes ALEC Bill Limiting Compensation For Asbestos Victims":

"Last week, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) approved a bill that curbs the ability of asbestos-exposure victims to recover losses from some companies that are legally responsible. The bill was pushed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Crown Holdings, Inc., a Fortune 500 corporation trying to legislate its way out of compensating cancer and mesothelioma victims who were exposed to asbestos by a company it purchased. According to a Media Matters analysis, Michigan's two largest newspapers, the Detroit Free Press and the Grand Rapids Press, have been utterly silent on the bill from introduction to its passage."
Actually, not being on means the story is not a multitude of Michigan media outlets, many of whom have yet to run only occasional stories on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) currently embroiled in controversy.

This is Just One State where the ALEC Story Blackout Continues

Michigan - Last fall the ALEC Asbestos bill was submitted by crony capitalist Michigan Republicans AGAIN for the THIRD TIME. Here's the timeline and docs:

House Bill 4601 (20112-12)
Sponsor:  State Rep. Joe Haverman (Not yet a documented ALEC Member but close associate of Wayne Kuipers who was an ALEC member and submitted the same bill in 2005-2006)
House Bill 5167 (2009-2010)
Sponsors: Primary Mark Meadows (D-East Lansing) AND Tonya Schuitmaker(R) (ALEC MI State Chair)
Committee: Judiciary
Complete to 10-13-09
Senate Bill 591 (Substitute S-3) (2007-2008)
Sponsor: State Sen Wayne Kuipers
Committee: Judiciary
Passed by the GOP Senate
Data Submitted: June 2007
Date Completed: 8-13-08
Bill as Passed by GOP Michigan State Senate
Note: Kuipers was term-limited, confirmed ALEC member and still all-around troublemaker, Kuipers referenced ALEC in his publicly accessible submissions. Kuipers PAC very good candidate for NPR-style ALEC contribution tracing from that time period. This ALEC model was covered in our first MI ALEC investigation.

FROM a posting this morning on Blogging for Michigan Daily Briefing on ALEC:

Blue Cross Blue Shield was the first Michigan-based corporate member to withdrawal from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) or “not renew” its member to the right-wing ‘service provider” that has been the source for “model legislation” being introduced in multiple US States for decades, including Michigan. In the statement by BCBS, they declared covered by a story in The Hill:

"The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association's decision not to renew our membership with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was made in February 2012 as part of our budgeting process, and was independent of any outreach or campaign by another organization."

In a stunning statement, ALEC announced that ALEC was shutting down its “Public Safety and Elections Task Force” one of ten working groups where State Legislators and Corporations meet to write legislation or ALEC Models that are then voted on and approved by the “Private Sector” members, nearly a dozen of which have dropped ALEC membership recently fearing ‘brand damage’ to their products and services.

From one of a blizzard of stories on the announcement this one by Paul Abowd at the Center for Public Integrity (@iWatch):

ALEC spun its announcement by declaring that it was “refocusing our commitment to free-market, limited government and pro-growth principles.” The statement from ALEC national chair David Frizzell, an Indiana state representative, said the group was eliminating its Public Safety and Elections Task Force and “reinvesting these resources in the task forces that focus on the economy.” (break) “While we recognize there are other critical, non-economic issues that are vitally important to millions of Americans, we believe we must concentrate on initiatives that spur competitiveness and innovation and put more Americans back to work.”
Sounds familiar right? Because its exactly the same stuff Snyder is using.

By the way, watch out for Paul Abowd, a native Michigander, has done other stories on Michigan issues including a piece in Mother Jones “Michigan's Hostile Takeover” that focused on Emergency Manager issues in Pontiac and he shows the connections between Lou Schimmel, the writings and forming of PA 4 legislation or Emergency Manager Law, and his denial of connections to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, proponents of the privatization of Michigan’s public assets.  Schimmel literally wrote the book on EM.

A list of identified Michigan ALEC Corporation Members was posted earlier on BFM and also an interesting piece with a bunch of ALEC related links  on Snyder and ALEC in Michigan on a fairly new blog in the progressive Michigan blogosphere was getting a lot of hits yesterday as well.

Seeming oblivious to all the fuss about ALEC, which has been stretched for weeks across the headlines of other US States, Michigan’s press remains largely quiet, or continues ALEC “business as usual”.  This example from the Detroit Free Press, doing a cut and paste (just like the bills are made law by the way – not kidding) on the ALEC “Rich States, Poor States” used by Rick Snyder and Michigan Republicans to justify their overwhelming business over people legislation:

The state placed 17th in an economic outlook ranking that is part of the 2012 American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index.  That's up from No. 25 last year and the highest level since 2008, when Michigan also ranked 17th. (break) Last year, Michigan's Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder overhauled the state's tax system, reducing or eliminating taxes for many businesses in an effort to spur job growth.
Another top (so-called “rich”) state is that of Utah, from which Snyder’s Budget Director John Nixon was drafted (pun intended).  Utah is a state with a history of ALEC legislation and use of the “ALEC State Budget Toolkit” elements of which are in the Snyder budgets.  

Groups around the country are starting to debunk the ALEC report, here is an example from a critic from the Idaho Statesman in ALEC ranked #6 Idaho:

Among the top 10 states, eight have GOP governors. Republicans control the House in all 10 states and hold the Senate in eight states. Looking at the bottom 10, seven have Democratic governors, and Democrats control the Senate in seven states and the House in seven states. The outlier is Maine, a Republican state that ranked No. 47 in the study.


My problem with the ALEC study is in its labeling. If this were called a scorecard on tax rates or even “the cost of doing business,” I wouldn’t have any heartburn. But this study suggests that the lone true path to prosperity comes by low-balling the cost of state government. That’s political spin, pure and simple. And it helps explain why ALEC, despite its claims of non-partisanship, is viewed with such suspicion.

Not only are the ALEC rankings spurious, they are unreliable. Consistently conservative Idaho has ranked in ALEC’s Top 10 three of the four previous years. If we’re so poised for economic recovery, wouldn’t we be doing better?

Michigan associated ALEC Corporate  identified and documented so far by includes:
Amway (Alticor) (former but highly suspected as current)
Amisure-Michigan Mutual
Blue Cross Blue Shield
CMS Energy (Consumers Power)
Dow Chemical
DTE Energy
Ford Motor Company
General Motors
Hannover Insurance
Sara Lee
There maybe be more, nobody but ALEC knows due to the fact they do not release their membership lists of State Legislator or Corporations, Foundations or Associations belonging to the organization that is "ALEC-tro-fying" our Nation's State Legislatures and State Laws.
Note: The Center for Media and Democracy corporate (corporations, associations, law firms, etc) members list is now somewhere around 406 now (less 11 this past week and a half), but the working list among researchers is at 671 corporations  includes past and present – and companies that were major sponsors of ALEC annual conferences and events which costs about the same a formal ‘membership’.
The working LIST of MICHIGAN individual ALEC State Legislators, US Congressman and several non-political members (like Andrew Card) past and present is now over 150.

This time it's the Michigan MSM that has been smoked.

RELATED: First State Level Investigation of ALEC in Michigan
RELATED: Simple but popular post on ALEC's "Donate Now" Button

Originally posted to Hector Solon on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 11:42 AM PDT.

Also republished by American Legislative Transparency Project and Michigan, My Michigan.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Just will have to... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moose67, Sylv, Alma

    ... keep doing all the news ourselves here in MICH. It's a self-serve news service state (there are a very few, limited exceptions). Actually, not exactly sure the Lansing newswires cover the signed. The official State of Michigan Press Service seems to have over looked it too. Want a picture of that, not this crony crap.

    If it's National news, it just has to  might be Michigan news.

    For the occasional reluctant tweet

    by Hector Solon on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 12:30:33 PM PDT

  •  ADD YOUR STATE... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, Alma

    ... to the TAGs if you can provide one huge thing ALEC has done that got no coverage, like letting people die without recourse from corporate harmful products in YOUR STATE.

    For the occasional reluctant tweet

    by Hector Solon on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 12:40:07 PM PDT

  •  Added Ohio to tags. We've had a LOT of ALEC (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hector Solon, Alma

    legislation passed since Kasich became governor with no coverage of the fact.

    Our metropolitan daily refuses to discuss ALEC at all, only a few mentions and then usually in reference to some study brought up at a legislative hearing, but never as the source of a "model bill".

    ManfromMiddletown is likely a good source to discuss coverage in the Cincinnati area, and AnastasiaP is qualified to discuss what is going on in NE Ohio (Cleveland) are coverage.  Plundebund blog in NE Ohio does a good job, but that is not an MSM outlet.

    The only time I have seen any coverage of ALEC in the Columbus Dispatch was after Progress Ohio published its report, and the Dispatch covered the press conference.  That story is the only ALEC coverage I have seen in that paper.

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 01:49:39 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the excellent background (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hector Solon, Alma

    information on this topic.  I am so disillusioned by the total lack of response by the Michigan Democratic Party on all the issues confronting working people by Snyder&Co.  I sure wish we had a strong attack group like we see in Wisconsin.  I keep calling, signing petitions and writing emails/letters to try to stop this insanity.

    "George Washington: "The power under the Constitution will always be in the people.... and whenever it is executed contrary to their interest, or not agreeable to their wishes, their servants can, and undoubtedly will, be recalled." 1787

    by moose67 on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 02:09:25 PM PDT

    •  Agree... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ... with you. The MDP lacks strategic vision no doubt.

      Keep it up, as we push these things and some of these campaigns start working (like on the national level at the moment), the MDP may follow. They just lack the overall perspective that folks, following ALEC for example, have in understanding that Snyder/ALEC/BLM tactics are part of a GOP National Strategy, 'coordinated' thru GOP 'State Solutions' and the Republican Governors' Association (RGA). Behind it is the more sinister "New Traditionalist" (Heritage/CNP) roots people like Moyers and others are writing and speaking about.

      As you work with others, help them to see the big picture, as it is obviously clear to you. Never under estimate the power of the informed few.

      A CMD-style org in MI would be a awesome, they get it, big time.

      For the occasional reluctant tweet

      by Hector Solon on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 10:20:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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