If you are not familiar with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), then first read ALEC EXPLAINED

Decades ago, ALEC targeted Wisconsin as a test case for their agenda. Tommy Thompson was an early ALEC member and supporter.  It is now apparent that Thompson was the enthusiastic frontman for ALEC’s ideas and legislation — most famously the 1990’s “Welfare to Work” and “School Choice,” with the ultimate goal being the privatization of public schools.

Wisconsin’s new governor, Scott Walker, has decided to follow in Thompson’s footsteps, pushing half dozen ALEC-inspired bills in his first weeks and months in office (see table below), yet remaining silent about the roots of these public policy “innovations.”

Wisconsin BillDescriptionCompare With ALEC Model BillWho Benefits
Wisconsin BillDescriptionCompare With ALEC Model BillWho Benefits
Act 10 "Budget Repair Bill" (This bill had almost nothing to do with budgetary issues)This bill is designed to financially cripple key financial supporters of Democratic candidates"Public Employee Freedom Act," "Public Employer Payroll Deduction Policy Act"Republican Party in future state and national elections
Act 23 "Voter ID Law". (This law "solves" a problem that does not exist)Disenfranchise traditional Democratic constituencies, like the poor, black and elderly, who are less likely to have official photo identification. Also, all public financing for state political races would end."Model Voter ID Legislation" of 2009, "Resolution Opposing Taxpayer Financed Political Campaigns".Republican Party in future state and national elections.
Act 22: The Telecommunications Modernization Act of 2011The law strips away 50 years of consumer protection for landline telephone subscribers. It guts the PSC's authority to regulate rates of basic phone service in areas with little or no competition. "Regulatory Modernization Act" which prohibits any commission from regulating rates and charges, terms and conditions of services, mergers or acquisitions and moreTelecommunication and, thru political donations, Gov. Walker $87,822, Scott Fitzgerald $12,770 Jeff Fitzgerald $10,419
Act 2, an Omnibus Tort ActLimits corporation accountability for outrageous acts of negligence or recklessness causing injury or death. "Punitive Damages Standards Act," "Punitive Damages Standards Act," "Regulatory Compliance Congruity with Liability Act," "Product Liability Act," "Comparative Fault Act" and "Joint and Several Liability Act" manufacturors, nursing homes, law firms, tobacco and pharmaceutical companies, Gov. Walker ($1.09M) thru political donations
Act 94 "Self Defense" (also referred to as a "Stand Your Ground" or "Shoot First" law). Provides legal immunity to a person who uses lethal force, believing it will prevent their own death or bodily harm. "Castle Doctrine Act" (which goes well beyond traditional self-defense doctrines). Walmart, largest US gun retailer. Walmart headed the ALEC Task Force that passed the Castle Doctrine Act in 2005.

There are other ALEC model bills that have been introduced into the Wisconsin Legislature, but not yet passed, including:

  • Charter School Reform Bill (AB 51-SB22)
  • The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (AB 94)
  • Special Needs Scholarship Program Act (AB 11)


The information above is condensed from pages of PRWatch and ALEC Exposed, two websites of The Center for Media and Democracy. On these pages you can find even more ALEC based Legislative activities in Wisconsin.

created 12 May 2012


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