The American Legislative Exchange Council — a nonprofit better known as ALEC — briefed its members and allied groups on the bright future for its agenda now that Republicans will effectively control 68 of the nation’s 99 state legislative bodies, as well as 33 governor’s mansions. Among other things, group members said they would push bills to reduce corporate taxes, weaken unions, privatize schooling and influence the ideological debate on college campuses.
“We can pretty much do whatever we want to right now,” said Rep. Jim DeCesare, a Republican state legislator in Kentucky, where the party gained the state House for the first time in nearly a century.
DeCesare, who had been minority whip, described plans for “a pretty intense agenda” including a so-called right-to-work law allowing employees who are covered by collective bargaining agreements to opt out of joining labor unions. Another, he said, would be repealing rules that require government contractors to pay employees more than the minimum wage. Neighboring states competing for new businesses, he said, had already gutted such regulations.
“We’ve got some catching up to do, but we plan to make up a lot of ground in a very short time,” DeCesare said. “This is our time to shine.”
Inez Feltscher, director of ALEC’s education task force, outlined plans to advocate for legislation giving money to parents who take their children out of public schools — stipends they could use for private schooling or other educational expenses. Critics of these “education savings accounts” say they’re a drain on public-school funding, while proponents argue they give parents a chance to pick the best situation for their kids.
Feltscher acknowledged another motivation: “To break the monopoly on one of the most important institutions in America.” Conservatives have long been at odds with teachers unions over the structure and curriculum of public schools. “We’ve let the left take over almost all of the cultural institutions of this country,” she said.
Another ALEC target, Feltscher said, would be the state of “free debate on American universities,” which conservatives say are largely dominated by left-leaning faculty, courses and speakers. For example, she said, lawmakers could use a range of tactics to press administrators to include multiple ideologies during on-campus public policy talks, such as demanding an annual count of campus events that included more than one perspective. Simply requiring measurement and public reporting would apply pressure, she said, but legislators could also take it to “the nuclear level” and threaten to pull funding from schools that are perceived to be limiting discourse.
“There’s going to be a lot more aggression on this,” Feltscher said.
Corporate rule. Oh, joy. They’ll get all the money and cozy breaks, friendly legislation, and all the people working? Screwed. And no more education, we prefer ignorant dumbfucks! Oh, we are beyond fucked.