Posted by Elaine Magliaro
FYI: Brendan Fischer and Mary Bottari posted an article titled Scott Walker: The First ALEC President? over at the Center for Media and Democracy’s PRWatch yesterday. I have an excerpt from the article below the fold.
As County Executive, Privatization Reflected ALEC Priorities
As Milwaukee County Executive, Walker continued to promote the policies promoted by ALEC, particularly privatization and anti-union measures.
In 2009, for example, Walker declared an economic emergency in Milwaukee County and used his special authority to lay off the union security workers at the county courthouse. He then replaced them with Wackenhut officers at a time when the firm was already under heavy criticism for failing to protect the public while patrolling the Milwaukee transit system.
In 2011, an arbitrator reversed Walker’s outsourcing of courthouse security and the county ended up having to cover back pay for the wrongfully laid off union workers, costing taxpayers an extra $430,000.
As Governor, Walker Pushed ALEC Agenda “Straight Out of the Gates”
After Walker entered the governor’s office in 2011, he quickly pushed many ALEC priority measures “by request of the Governor.” In his first year, Walker signed 19 ALEC bills into law, which went after unions, preempted paid sick days bills, enacted voter ID restrictions, and made it harder to hold corporations accountable in the courts.
The first bill Walker called for upon taking office was Senate Bill 1 (which became Act 2), an “omnibus” bill that, as the Center for Media and Democracy first reported, drew on numerous ALEC model bills to change liability rules and make it harder for Wisconsin families to hold corporations accountable when their products or activities cause injury or death.
When asked by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel if Governor Walker relied upon ALEC legislation when putting together this “tort reform” bill, Walker’s press secretary Cullen Werwie replied “absolutely not.”
Yet the bill clearly reflected several pieces of ALEC model legislation, and while it was pending in the legislature, ALEC sent an email to Wisconsin members stating that ALEC “supports this legislation which includes numerous provisions that reflect ALEC’s civil justice reform policy and model legislation.” The bill’s lead sponsor was ALEC Civil Justice Task Force member Sen. Rich Zipperer, who would leave the legislature the following year to become Walker’s Deputy Chief of Staff and senior legal counsel.
After Act 2 became law, ALEC issued a press release commending Walker and the legislature “for their immediate attention to reforming the state’s legal system.” A few months later, the ALEC Civil Justice Task Force held a presentation on the measures titled “Wisconsin: Straight Out of the Gates,” to laud Walker and the legislature’s new Republican majority for quickly implementing the ALEC agenda.
Walker also pushed $800 million in tax cuts that have primarily benefitted the wealthy and corporations, leading to big budget shortfalls and massive cuts to the university system. Those cuts were celebrated by ALEC, which ranked the state number one in tax cuts for 2014.
Click here to read the full text of Scott Walker: The First ALEC President? at PRWatch.