Six companies have announced they are separating from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) - General Electric, Western Union, Sprint Nextel, Symantec (creators of Norton anti-virus software), Reckitt Benckiser Group (which makes Lysol), and Entergy (a Louisiana-based power company).
ALEC came under scrutiny for their support of "Stand Your Ground" legislation used in the defense of George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin and voter suppression legislation. Voter suppression bills based on ALEC's model have been introduced in 34 states. Voter suppression legislation has recently passed in 19 states, with the legislation being into law in 17 states. The laws have the potential to disenfranchise up to 5 million people in the U.S. and are specifically designed to target people of color, young people, women, and people living in poverty.
Following a campaign by ColorOfChange.org, over thirty companies have stopped their support of ALEC including Coca Cola, PepsiCo, and McDonalds according to ThinkProgress. ALEC disbanded their "Public Safety and Elections" task force that focused on non-economic legislation as a result of corporate pressure.
Earlier this year, Common Cause filed an IRS claim against the ALEC, claiming that group has lobbied in violation of its 501(c)(3) status as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. ALEC has denied the claims, saying the group studies legislative ideas and policy.
ALEC is an organization which has been supported by many corporations and is composed of state legislators. ALEC has developed model legislation which aids corporations and has often promoted extreme right-wing legislation. ALEC claims to have about 1,000 of its bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .