During KBOO's all-day special program on KBOO titled Fighting the Neoliberal Agenda on Friday, May 9th, KBOO listeners heard the first report-back from KBOO’s investigative reporting team on the impact of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on legislation and legislators in the state of Oregon. Two of these reporters were asked to leave a conference hosted by ALEC at the Kansas City, Missouri Marriott hotel in the first week of May 2014. The reporters, Mike Klepfer and Yana Maximova, traveled to Kansas City to shadow Oregon legislators with ties to ALEC and to try to identify those business interests that interact with legislators in an effort to update existing lists of businesses affiliated with ALEC.
KBOO recently received a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism to do an investigation on ALEC influence in Oregon.
The American Legislative Exchange Council is a tax-exempt, 501(c)3 charitable organization that has existed since the 1960s. In recent years, it has become infamous in its efforts to influence members of state legislatures throughout the country to adopt model legislation ALEC creates through various industry "task forces" that focus on corporate interests. Although the most famous of these, the so called "Stand Your Ground" law, received much attention in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, many others quietly become law. Examples range from legislation that prevents farmers from protesting the nearby plantings of genetically modified seeds to requiring users of solar panels to pay a subsidy to utility companies. Other task forces highlight efforts to, among others, reduce the advocacy of labor, to increase the prevalence of private prisons and to inhibit the ability of states to dictate protocols for identifying railcar contents.
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The official project page, with audio and transcripts, a database of Oregon ALEC bills, a map of ALEC affliated districts, ALEC model bills, Oregon legislation, and useful links, is here: smartalec.kboo.fm