Even as ALEC’s legislators in Minnesota are pretending that ALEC’s just this poor little old impotent debating society, ALEC’s legislators in Florida are going beyond merely cribbing from ALEC’s model bills to dropping ALEC’s mission statement into them.
When Florida Rep. Rachel Burgin (R- 56) introduced a bill in November calling on the federal government to reduce taxes for corporations (HM 685), she made an embarrassing mistake. Rep. Burgin was introducing a bill she had received from the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council. A bill written by the Tax Foundation, corporate members of ALEC’s ‘Tax and Fiscal Policy task force” and a group founded and funded by major corporate interests, including the billionaire Koch brothers.
All ALEC model resolutions contain a boilerplate paragraph, describing ALEC’s adherence to free market principles and limited government. When legislators introduce one of ALEC’s bills, they normally remove this paragraph. Sometimes (but only sometimes) legislators will make some slight alterations to anALEC model bill,perhaps to include something specific to them or to their state. Rep. Burgin didn’t do that. Instead she introduced a bill that was the same as the model word-for-word, forgetting even to remove the paragraph naming ALEC and describing its principles.
As a Texas Governor might say; “Oops!”
The next day, Rep. Burgin quickly withdrew the bill hoping that no one had noticed and then re-introduced it 24-hours later, with a new bill number (HM 717), but now without the problematic paragraph. Nobody seems to have noticed until now.
Here’s how HM 685 (now HM 717) originally started:
WHEREAS, it is the mission of the American Legislative Exchange Council to advance Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty, and
Burgin — or whichever of her staffers did the cut-and-paste job for her — gives the game away quite neatly.