Legislators listening to business people about policies that affect businesses. Oh, the horror …
According to the N&O, and other liberal mouthpieces, the fact that NC state legislators and businesspeople are getting together to talk about legislation means SOMETHING sinister is going on:
The American Legislative Exchange Council is holding its annual conference in New Orleans, on the heels of critical reports about the organization prompted by a project by a liberal watchdog group.
ALEC is a bipartisan free-market advocacy organization that has long brought together elected officials and business interests. It claims to have 1,800 legislators and about 300 private-sector members, who meet in private throughout the year to debate and draft proposed laws.
Last month, the Center for Media and Democracy got its hands on scores of ALEC documents and posted them online, inviting people to compare pro-business laws passed in their state with the model legislation. It was meant to prove that corporate interests were writing laws behind closed doors.
Conservatives have a far less sinister view of ALEC, saying the organization provides valuable research that most state legislators don’t have the staffs to do on their own. ALEC says the model laws emerge from a strenuous vetting process, although it is outside of public scrutiny.
In March, ALEC representatives put on a “boot camp” about medical malpractice and other civil law reforms for about two dozen members of the N.C. General Assembly. The next day, a bill was introduced in the House giving unprecedented protection from liability lawsuits to drugmakers and the manufacturers of other products. North Carolina-based executives from GlaxoSmithKline and Reynolds American are ALEC board members.
I, for one, think it is a great idea for politicians to get out among the common folks and seek advice on subject matters from people WHO ACTUALLY DEAL WITH THOSE SUBJECTS ON A DAILY BASIS.
Though, I’d like to see them include small business people in these discussions. Big corporations like Reynolds and Glaxo were cheerleading for Obamacare, which would take a huge expense off their books and help their bottom lines, but would be disastrous for small businesses.
I would also like to get some assurances that this process is NOT a ruse to cover up a pay-to-play operation. Special tax breaks for big companies (who also happen to make generous campaign contributions to key legislators), while not shrinking government or providing tax relief for small businesses and everyone else, does nothing positive for the state, its people, or the economy. That is the game we’ve been playing for decades that has gotten us into this mess.