Better UTAH Announces Launch of “KickALECout” Campaign

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Alliance For A Better UTAH Announces Launch of “KickALECout” Campaign and Renews Call On Utah Legislators To Abandon Alec

SALT LAKE CITY, UT — Over the past year, the secretive American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has garnered an increasing level of scrutiny and criticism as its agenda has shifted from one focused on conservative business principles to one of ultra-conservative social principles. This shift has caused numerous corporate sponsors to drop their membership and sponsorship of ALEC, and has led to the resignation from ALEC of a significant number of state legislators around the Nation.

Corporate sponsors announcing their withdrawal of support for ALEC include such significant names as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Intuit, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Mars, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Coca-Cola issued the following statement, one echoed by many of the corporations who have since severed their ties with ALEC, “Our involvement with ALEC was focused on efforts to oppose discriminatory food and beverage taxes, not on issues that have no direct bearing on our business. We have a long-standing policy of only taking positions on issues that impact our Company and industry.”

To date, at least 51 elected leaders in 15 different states have resigned their memberships.* In a statement, Georgia Senator, Nan Orrock denounced ALEC, calling it “radical,” “dangerous” and accused it of “impeding democracy.” She continued, “I know first-hand that ALEC is not the innocuous organization it claims to be. ALEC is underwritten by corporate dollars to push corporate financial interests that disadvantage middle-class and working families.”

On May 15, 2012, Better UTAH sent an email to every member of the Utah State Legislature that included the following request. “We are asking all Utah legislators, whether members of ALEC or not, to let us know why you do or do not belong to this organization.”

To-date, we have heard from 7 legislators and could confirm 44 [42% of Utah’s legislators] had opened the email. Of the responses, 5 were from Democrat Legislators, all of whom confirmed they were not members and did not agree with the ALEC agenda. The two Republican respondents both stated that they were not members of ALEC but questioned Better UTAH’s role and reason for pushing an anti-ALEC agenda.

No responses were received from any legislators who are current ALEC members. ALEC members in the Utah State Legislature include:

ALEC State Chairman, Sen. Curt Bramble (R-16)
ALEC State Chairman, Sen. Wayne Niederhauser (R-9)
Senate President, Michael G. Waddoups (R-6)
Senate Majority Leader, Scott K. Jenkins (R-20)
Sen. Ralph Okerlund (R-24)
Sen. Stephen H. Urquhart (R-29)
Sen. Mark B. Madsen (R-13)
Sen. Peter Knudson (R-17)
Sen. Ralph Okerlund (R-24)
Sen. Margaret Dayton (R-15)
Sen. Howard A. Stephenson (R-11)
Sen. Stuart C. Reid (R-18)
Sen. J. Stuart Adams (R-22)
Speaker of the House, Rebecca Lockhart (R-64)
House Majority Leader, Brad L. Dee (R-11)
Rep. Todd E. Kiser (R-41)
Rep. Ryan Wilcox (R-7)
Rep. Gage Froerer (R-8)
Rep. Paul Ray (R-13)
Rep. Chris N. Herrod (R-62)
Rep. Dean Sanpei (R-63)
Rep. David Clark (R-74)
Rep. Bradley Daw (R-60)
Rep. Roger Barrus (R-18)
Rep. Keith Grover (R-61)
Rep. Michael T. Morley (R-66)
Rep. Eric K. Hutchings (R-38)
Rep. Ken Ivory (R-47)
Rep. R. Curt Webb (R-5)
Rep. Julie Fisher (R-17)

In connection with ALEC’s ongoing agenda and in anticipation of ALEC’s annual conference being held in Salt Lake City this summer, the Alliance for a Better UTAH calls upon the citizens of Utah to tell their legislators to Just Say No to ALEC! Better UTAH encourages state legislators around the nation to collaborate in useful and meaningful ways about best practices and important legislation, but we believe that Utah issues deserve Utah solutions – not solutions crafted by lobbyists, corporations and legislators from other states.

Better UTAH encourages all UTAH citizens to visit where visitors will be able to learn more about ALEC, the bills that ALEC has supported and is supporting in the Utah Legislature, and send an email to their representatives to either thank them for not participating in ALEC, or to ask them to resign their ALEC membership.

“The majority of ALEC’s funding has always come from corporations interested in advancing corporate interests over those of the average citizen,” said Maryann Martindale, Executive Director of Alliance for a Better UTAH. “The recent shift to an ultra-conservative social agenda has gone too far, as evidenced by the exodus of corporate sponsors and conservative legislators. It is time for the citizens of Utah to ask their legislators to lead by example and to be at the front of the pack of legislators resigning from ALEC, not to prove their intransigence by being the last ones standing.”

ALEC model legislation has been responsible for advancing legislation aimed at promoting voter suppression, privatized public education, irresponsible gun laws, the privatization of public lands, and various anti-environment initiatives, among others.

* For a list of all state legislators who have left ALEC, visit ALEC Exposed. For an ongoing list of the corporations who have left ALEC, visit Think Progress.
Online links to press releases are available at The Alliance for a Better UTAH is a year-round, multi-issue education and advocacy organization providing resources, commentary, and action on important public policy matters.
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