Some laws just get in the way of lawmaking…
The American Legislative Exchange Council is eager to help states craft laws, but it appears the organization is not as interested in following state laws, particularly Freedom of Information Act laws.
The secretive group that pushes corporate-backed model legislation to state legislative bodies is trying to make it more difficult for the public to gain information about the legislation the group is promoting.
ALEC has attempted to skirt public open records laws by stamping documents it shares with elected officials with a disclaimer claiming they are internal documents and not subject to disclosure under any state Freedom of Information Act laws.
The Center for Media and Democracy is fighting ALEC’s efforts to evade the laws in several states, including Wisconsin and Texas.
A few weeks ago, the Center sent a letter to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, rebutting an earlier letter ALEC attorneys sent to Abbott arguing the group is exempt from Texas disclosure laws.
Last year, the CMD joined Common Cause in a lawsuit against five Wisconsin lawmakers who claimed their communications with ALEC were exempt. The Wisconsin officials decided to settle and turn over the records.
…as can lawmakers
ALEC also took exception to attempts from U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, civil rights and human rights, from asking questions about the conservative organization.
On Aug. 8, ALEC sent Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, a letter complaining about Durbin’s attempts to get information about ALEC-sponsored legislation from the organization’s corporate and legislative members.
The letter claimed Durbin’s actions infringed on the group’s rights.
The letter stated that ALEC, as a 501(3)3 educational nonprofit, is guaranteed the right to freedom of speech and assembly by the Constitution.
Nearly 300 state legislators from 39 states, including eight from Indiana, also signed the letter.
Republican Reps. Woody Burton, Tim Brown, Tim Wesco, David Wolkins, David Frizzell, Mike Speedy and Heath VanNatter as well as Sen. James Buck signed the letter (Brown and Buck signed more than once).
Indiana innovations have made it in New York
If any job creators are looking for inspiration in Times Square, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. has a suggestion for them – look to Indiana.
IEDC officials boasted in a news release this week of an ad campaign airing on the CBS Super Screen on New York’s 42nd Street, between Seventh and Eighth avenues.
One of the 15-second videos apparently touts Indiana’s connection to NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover.
Purdue University graduate Douglas Adams, a scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California since 2007, was the senior engineer for Curiosity’s parachute landing system.
An IEDC spokeswoman said the ad campaign cost $65,000, which comes from the $3 million appropriated for marketing by the General Assembly over the biennium.
The videos feature the slogans We’re not only a workforce, but a force that works, We’re at the crossroads of what’s possible and what’s next and Integrity is our complexion, innovation is our currency.