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.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .