Although most of the attention yesterday at the Colorado Capitol was focused on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the debate and passage there of the Colorado Civil Unions Act, other action included the death of a bill in the Senate Business, Labor, and Technology Committee we had noted earlier this month—Senate Bill 13-024, this year’s iteration of the “Right To Work Act” sponsored by freshman Sen. Owen Hill of Colorado Springs.
Sen. Hill’s legislation is notable because it contains numerous verbatim provisions from sample legislation developed by a controversial right-wing thinktank called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Hill’s bill is in fact an adapted version of ALEC’s “sample” Right To Work Act to fit Colorado law, and retitled as an act to “Prohibit Discrimination Based On Labor Union Participation.” Despite the prefabricated nature of the bill Sen. Hill carried to its death yesterday, he’ll no doubt be represented as some kind of budding intellectual star in conservative circles.
It’s not really news that this happens; as we’ve discussed and seems to be
ignored accepted by Colorado journalists in contrast to many other states, ALEC has a highly pervasive–and, rarely, even bipartisan–influence in the Colorado General Assembly. While legislators in other states and corporations across the nation distanced themselves from the organization last year, a consequence of scandal created by ALEC-model laws affecting the case of a dead Florida teenager, ALEC’s influence in Colorado has received basically no coverage in major media. Meanwhile, ALEC celebrates victories in Colorado despite the GOP’s minority status, like the passage in 2010, with support of some Democrats, of the hotly controversial teacher evaluation bill Senate Bill 10-191.
Overall, ALEC’s influence is overwhelmingly partisan and Republican, and all of the state-level ALEC committee representatives and chairs are Republicans.
With all of that in mind, we’ll also note this brief report in today’s Pueblo Chieftain:
Democrats on the House Business, Labor, Economic and Workforce Development committee voted to kill a bill that would require the Legislature to consider the fiscal impact of new laws on small business owners.
State Rep. Clarice Navarro, R-Pueblo, sponsored the bill in the House…
Why, isn’t that another freshman “shining star” for the GOP, Rep. Clarice Navarro? Carrying a new flavor of the same “Business Impact Statement” legislation that some Republican happens to introduce every year?
This could be relevant information, after all, when the Pueblo Chieftain’sВ mindless editorial board lavishes praise on Rep. Navarro for her “innovative thinking,” or if you should happen to Google across the ALEC model “Economic Impact Statement Act” looking for more information about Navarro’s now-dead legislation. Also check out ALEC’s model “Regulatory Flexibility Act,” which contains similar provisions for a “small business impact statement.”
They say that legislation is like sausagemaking, and you shouldn’t watch it being made. We’d say, however, that it’s useful to know where these recycled bits are coming from.