A first principle regarding everything the right-wing throws up — If it's a multi-state effort, it's coordinated.
And if it's looks coordinated, look for the dirty fingerprints of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Who is ALEC? Our background is here. But if you want the short strokes, it's this.
ALEC is a secret-list members-only organization composed of two kinds of people, Republican state legislators and billionaire funders. The legislators get in for $50 per year. The billionaires get in for tens of thousands per year. That's how ALEC makes its money.
The billionaire individuals and companies pay ALEC to write laws and present them to legislators at "conferences" cum junkets. The legislators take the laws ("model legislation") home and introduce them as bills in as many states as possible. The rest is history, since in most cases, the billionaires can pay legislators to pass them. and governors to sign them as well. It's perfect vertical integration for the billionaires, and wonderfully efficient.
ALEC is how Arizona got its Send-Browns-To-Prison-For-Profit Law. ALEC is why we're awash in anti-union legislation.
And now we know ALEC is the hand behind all those "Stand Your Ground and Fire" laws that got Trayvon Martin killed.
Media Matters (h/t Cliff Schecter; my emphasis):
The ["Stand Your Ground"] legislation apparently preventing the successful prosecution of Trayvon Martin's killer was reportedly adopted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as model legislation that the shadowy group has spent years promoting across the country with the help of their allies in the National Rifle Association.In this version of the story, the NRA plays the role of "billionaire funder":
Formed in 1973 by conservative activists including Paul Weyrich and state legislators like then-Illinois State Rep. Henry Hyde, ALEC has earned infamy throughout the progressive movement for its ability to promote model legislation favorable to its corporate funders through statehouses across the country. ...
Florida's statute on the use of force in self-defense is virtually identical to Section 1 of ALEC's Castle Doctrine Act model legislation as posted on the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). According to CMD, the model bill was adopted by ALEC's Civil Justice Task in August 2005 -- just a few short months after it passed the Florida legislature -- and approved by its board of directors the following month.
Since the 2005 passage of Florida's law, similar statutes have been passed in 16 other states. This was no accident. In a 2008 interview with NRA News, ALEC resident fellow Michael Hough explained how his organization works with the NRA to push similar legislation through its network of conservative state legislators[.]
According to a 2002 report [pdf] from Defenders of Wildlife and the Natural Resources Defense Council, the NRA is "a longtime funder of ALEC." The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) reports that the gun lobby group was a "Vice-Chairman" level sponsor of ALEC's 2011 annual conference, and that an NRA operative was "the co-chair of ALEC's Public Safety and Elections Task Force for a number of years, until the Spring of 2011."Want more? Watch this from 2008:
ALEC is, put simply, command-and-control for the Movement Conservative war in the states. Progressives have no ALEC. (Of course, we have no billionaires either, so maybe it's a moot point.)
UPDATE: More on NRA and ALEC here (h/t Masaccio, who is well worth a follow).
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