Bill Moyers Exposes the Stranglehold the Corporate & Right-Wing Alliance Has on Our Democracy
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JUSTICE SHIRLEY ABRAHAMSON: Please raise your right hand and repeat after me.
BILL MOYERS: The new governor moved quickly with a raft of ALEC-inspired bills. They included one similar to Florida’s "stand your ground." Another made it easier to carry concealed weapons. There was a resolution opposing the mandated purchase of health insurance. And, of course, there was one limiting corporate liability. The Wisconsin legislature passed a so-called tort reform measure that included parts of eight different ALEC models. ALEC was elated, praising Walker and the legislature in a press release for their, quote, "immediate attention to reforming the state’s legal system." But Scott Walker was also shooting for another big ALEC prize.
GOV. SCOTT WALKER: Now, some have questioned why we have to reform collective bargaining.
BILL MOYERS: Taking away workers’ collective bargaining rights, that had long been an ALEC goal. A candid video caught Scott Walker talking about it with one of his financial backers, the billionaire businesswoman Diane Hendricks.
GOV. SCOTT WALKER: Well, we’re going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill. The first step is, we’re going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions.
DIANE HENDRICKS: Right.
GOV. SCOTT WALKER: Because you just divide and conquer.
BILL MOYERS: Despite an extraordinary public outcry and after a brief but intense political struggle, Walker’s anti-collective-bargaining measures became state law.
JOHN NICHOLS: It was ALEC’s ideas, ALEC’s values, that permeated the bill and undid almost 50 years—more than 50 years of collective bargaining law in Wisconsin.
BILL MOYERS: But again, remember, this isn’t just about one state. It’s about every state. Take Arizona. It’s practically an ALECsubsidiary. One report this year found that 49 of the state’s 90 legislators are members. And two-thirds of the Republican leadership are on ALEC task forces. And, of course, the governor, Jan Brewer, was an ALEC member, too. So, not surprising, Arizona is among the states passing ALEC-inspired laws to privatize education at taxpayer expense. And no surprise again, Arizona is also getting ALEC-like laws to limit corporate liability.
REPORTER: Police will also be able to ask anyone to prove their legal status.
BILL MOYERS: And Arizona, you’ll recall, made news in 2010 with a law allowing police to stop someone for looking Hispanic and detaining them if they weren’t carrying proper papers. So, it probably won’t shock you to learn that Arizona’s immigration law also inspired an ALECmodel, a version of which was passed in five other states.
STATE REP. STEVE FARLEY: All of us here are very familiar with ALEC and the influence that ALEC has with many of the members here.
BILL MOYERS: ALEC’s nomination of Arizona proved too much for State Representative Steve Farley.
STATE REP. STEVE FARLEY: I just want to emphasize, it’s fine for corporations to be involved in the process. Corporations have the right to present their arguments. But they don’t have the right to do it secretly. They don’t have the right to lobby people and not register as lobbyists. They don’t have the right to take people away on trips, convince them of it, and send them back here, and then nobody has seen what’s really gone on and how that legislator has gotten that idea and where is it coming from.