The American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group of state lawmakers and corporations that, among other things, drafts model legislation, saw an exodus of members and a sharp decline in fundraising after it was tied to controversial “stand your ground laws” like the one made infamous following the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.
ALEC has denied being the source of Florida’s law and says it has no model policy today bearing resemblance to it. But the group says its practice of keeping draft bills secret has allowed opponents to pin the organization unfairly to such measures.
So now, ALEC’s leaders say they are putting in place a key change that will make sure that never happens again. As part of what it calls a move toward more transparency, the group has decided to post online all the “model legislation” it develops so that lawmakers, the public and the press will be able to see exactly where ALEC stands.
“We all acknowledge there were challenges in our past, but challenge oftentimes gives you the opportunity to be introspective and see what you can do differently, what you can do better, how you can better serve your constituents and your community,” said Bill Meierling, senior director of communications and public affairs.