Image by US Action: http://usaction.org/

Image by US Action: http://usaction.org/

 

Dear Friends,

In solidarity with those who will be attending the 40th annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Chicago on August 7-9, local Austin activists are hoping to build a coalition in opposition to ALEC’s influence over our legislative process in Texas.

For those who are not aware, ALEC is an organization that promotes a pro-corporate agenda by way of aiding big business in drafting bills that our legislators then attempt to pass into law. On ALEC task forces, corporate lobbyists and special interests vote as equals with elected representatives on templates to change our laws, behind closed doors with no press or public allowed to see the votes or deliberations. This agenda is orchestrated on both a state and national level, and has been the process by which problematic laws have passed through the legislatures of several state governments.  For example:

• Anti-women’s health bills like HB2 in Texas (introduced by Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, ALEC’s Texas Chair), SB 353 in North Carolina, SB 206 in WIsconsin and HB 200 in Ohio

• Anti-justice legislation such as “Three Strikes”, Stand Your Ground”, and mandatory minimum sentencing laws

• Healthcare proposals to weaken FDA drug regulation, privatize Medicare and Medicaid, repeal laws that expand public access to health care, and bar the families of Americans injured or killed by drugs and medical devices from holding manufacturers accountable in courts of law

• “Ag Gag” laws that prosecute whistleblowers for even so much as taking photographs of feedlots and factory farms to expose animal cruelty and food safety concerns

• Anti-environment legislation to roll back pollution regulations and health safeguards, eliminate clean energy competition, and allow drilling and extractive mining on protected lands

• Privatization of public services including but not limited to public schools, foster care, adoption and child support enforcement, Social Security, correctional facilities, environmental research facilities and public utilities

• Opposition to initiatives to roll back the Citizens United v FEC decision or fix the worst aspects of it

• “Jobs” legislation that would lower wages, eliminate employee rights, bust unions and ship more American jobs overseas

• Voter ID and other voter suppression legislation

• Opposition to comprehensive immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship

• And much, much more.

Since ALEC has its fingers in so very many pies, this is a great opportunity to connect the dots between all of the various grassroots organizations in Austin, and provide space for everyone to work together to oppose corporate influence over our representative democracy. Toward that end, you and your colleagues are invited to a meeting on Monday, August 5th at 7 PM on the Austin City Hall Plaza to plan a visual solidarity action aimed at building the coalition and educating the public about the various ways our issues are all connected.  This action will tentatively take place under the Rotunda at the Texas State Capitol on Friday, August 9th at 1 PM.  We’ll also discuss plans for the future.

Let’s show our legislators that Austin is united in opposition to corporate influence on our state Capitol.

If you are unable to make the meeting on the 5th or the action on the 9th, you can email me at lainie.duro@gmail.com for more information about future meeting dates and actions.

Here’s the Facebook event for the action that will take place on August 9th: https://www.facebook.com/events/493662220715367/

 

Sincerely,

 

Lainie Duro

Occupy Austin participant

Unruly Mob Media Team member

Rise Up/Levanta Texas participant

Mother of 2

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