November 30, 2011

Several protesters were arrested after being pepper sprayed by police while protesting the ALEC meeting in Arizona.


One person with the movement doesn't believe the use of pepper spray was needed.

"A member of the Tohono O'odham Indian Tribe who was pepper sprayed was denied medical treatment," Diane D'Angelo, a media volunteer with Occupy Phoenix, said. "There is no reason to be pepper spraying American citizens who are trying to exercise their first amendment right.

"I think it is pretty typical of what happens to people who don't have money, or access to power in this country at present. You get turned away, arrested or pepper sprayed. Of course it was excessive."

Various organizations ranging from labor to civil rights groups were there to protest against the American Legislative Exchange Council's States and Nation Summit.

The protesters accuse ALEC of being a massive nonprofit body that brings corporations and legislators together to draft ``model'' legislation like Arizona's SB 1070.

That last line is a little bit vague. ALEC IS a massive nonprofit body funded by corporations that exists for one sole purpose: to draft right-wing legislation and push it forward via state legislatures. For sample legislation they've drafted, please visit

In Arizona alone, there are at least 20 pieces of draft legislation which began with ALEC.

The best-known Arizona ALEC bill, SB1070, is almost a carbon-copy version of the ALEC "No Sanctuary Cities for Illegal Immigrants Act," and was approved by an ALEC task force whose members included theCorrections Corporation of America and American Bail Coalition, both of which stood to benefit from immigrant detention. The role of the private prison industry in the bill (which became law in 2010) was documented by Beau Hodai at In These Times and Laura Sullivan at NPR. Not previously reported is that one year earlier, in 2009, a similar anti-immigrant bill approved by the same ALEC task force was introduced in the Arizona legislature, but failed to pass. SB1159 is a verbatim copy of ALEC's "Immigration Law Enforcement Act," and like SB1070 was sponsored by recently-recalled Arizona Senator Russell Pearce. Pearce also sponsored ALEC bills in the Arizona legislature that would circumvent the Naturalization Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and mandate the use of the E-Verify system for Arizona employers.

Other ALEC legislators introduced ALEC-inspired bills to privatize the state prison system, oppose public financing for political campaigns, create new barriers to voting, and thwart federal efforts to implement environmental regulations that might exceed weak state environmental laws, according to the report(pdf).

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