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Outside Groups Co-Wrote 47 State Laws

Special interest groups like ALEC created model bills for dozens of laws passed since 2009.

By - May 22nd, 2019 01:11 pm
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Wisconsin State Capitol. Photo by Dave Reid.

Wisconsin State Capitol. Photo by Dave Reid.

About four dozen state laws enacted between 2009 and 2018 were the result of “model” bills often from outside of Wisconsin and frequently backed by powerful business and ideological interests, a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review found.

The Democracy Campaign compiled a list of the bills (table below) with information supplied by USA Today, which reported last month on the use of model bills in all 50 states that were written by corporations, industry groups and so-called think tanks.

Several of the Wisconsin bills, which include some omnibus state budget bills that contained parts of model legislation, were from a corporate bill mill called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) , which is based in Arlington, VA.

ALEC was created in the 1970s to unite powerful business interests with mostly GOP and conservative state legislators around the country. They meet to develop “model legislation” that state policymakers can tweak and introduce in their home states. The legislation developed by ALEC hits a range of issues, like taxes, privatizing government services and programs, health care, environmental deregulation, tort reform, guns, and voter ID.

Several current and former Wisconsin legislators, including GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, have been members of ALEC or attended ALEC conferences over the past several years, according to the Center for Media and Democracy.

Some of the Wisconsin laws that resemble ALEC’s model legislation include Voter ID, the Castle Doctrine, restricting public employee union rights, eliminating the prevailing wage, deregulating professional licensing requirements, and making it harder for state agencies to write and implement administrative rules and regulations.

Model Bills That Became Law in Wisconsin 2009 – 2018

Year Bill # Act # Party Support Description
2009 SB681 329 Bipartisan Adopts the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.
2009 SB365 166 Dem Adopts the Uniform Unsworn Foreign Declarations Act.
2009 SB31 33 Bipartisan Adopts the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act.
2009 SB517 339 Dem Creates a new Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children effective when 35 states enact the compact.
2009 SB617 210 Bipartisan Creates a privilege to refuse to disclose a confidential communication to a veteran mentor.
2011 AB5 9 GOP Requires a super majority legislative vote to raise taxes.
2011 AB11 10 GOP Restricts public employee collective bargaining
2011 AB40 32 GOP 2011-13 state budget (provisions on auto title loans, capital gains tax elimination, lift cap on virtual school enrollment).
2011 SB1* 2 GOP Relaxes product and service liability.
2011 AB69* 94 GOP Castle Doctrine.
2011 AB7* 23 GOP Voter ID.
2011 SB2* 1 GOP Health savings accounts.
2011 SB13* 22 GOP Deregulates the telecommunications industry.
2011 AB8* 21 GOP Restricts administrative rules by requiring economic impact statement.
2011 SB22* 93 GOP Trespasser Responsibility Act.
2011 SB57* 38 GOP Truth-in-Sentencing.
2011 SB93* 95 GOP Concealed Carry.
2011 SB399* 285 GOP Admissibility of hearsay evidence in court.
2013 SJR23* Constitutional Amendment GOP Restricts gas tax and vehicle registration fees to transportation costs.
2013 SB576 212 Bipartisan Creates new type of insurance license.
2013 SB384* 92 Bipartisan Revises trust laws.
2013 AB446 200 Bipartisan Training and use of drug Naloxone.
2013 SB223* 208 Bipartisan Prohibitions on employer and school access to employee, student internet accounts.
2013 AB409 348 Bipartisan Death investigations involving law enforcement.
2013 SB325* 352 Bipartisan Revises description and schedules of controlled substances.
2013 SB534 360 Bipartisan Regulation of mortgage brokers and bankers.
2013 AB350 52 Bipartisan Exemptions from securities registration requirements.
2015 SB44* 1 GOP Right-to-Work.
2015 AB427 115 GOP Prescription and delivery of Naxolone
2015 SB179 56 GOP Prohibits abortion when fetus may feel pain.
2015 AB143 16 Bipartisan Regulation of Uber and Lyft.
2015 AB253 116 Bipartisan Ratification of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.
2015 AB129 94 Bipartisan Regulates transfer of structured settlement payments.
2015 AB730* 302 GOP Prohibits communities from regulating plastic bags and one-use containers.
2015 SB21* 55 GOP 2015-17 state budget (dropped prevailing wage for local governments).
2017 AB553* 248 GOP Penalizes boycotts against Israel.
2017 SB417 135 Bipartisan Ratification of the Enhance Nurse Licensure Compact.
2017 AB773* 235 GOP Restricts class action lawsuit and statutes of limitations.
2017 AB655 345 Bipartisan Regulates agreements between a person with disabilities and a supporter.
2017 SB274 192 Bipartisan Regulates unclaimed life insurance and annuity benefits.
2017 SB61 211 GOP Handling of property seized in a crime case.
2017 SB583 213 GOP Modifies requirements for certain securities transactions to be exempt from registration.
2017 AB629 187 Bipartisan Multi-state agreement on court procedures for adult guardianships.
2017 SB298 77 Bipartisan Creates new business corporations called benefit corporations.
2017 SB15* 57 GOP Restricts rule-making by state agencies.
2017 SB108* 81 GOP Eliminates continuing education requirements, required working experience for barbers, cosmetologists.
2017 SB109* 82 GOP Loosens licensing requirements for cosmetologist, manicurists, others.

Compiled by USA Today and the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (WDC). Bills marked with an asterisk were supplied by WDC. Bills without an asterisk were supplied by USA Today.

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