WKU Public Radio News Staff
Thu April 26, 2012
ALEC Holds Sway with Some State Legislatures, But Not So Much in Kentucky
A controversial national legislative group may not have the same pull in Kentucky as it does in other states. For weeks, the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, has been under fire for its work pushing model state laws. The group has been linked to “stand your ground” gun laws, which have been in the news since the shooting death of a Florida teenager in February.
Many of ALEC’s corporate members, including Kentucky-based Yum Brands, have ended their association with the group.
But State Representative and ALEC Kentucky co-chair Mike Harmon of Danville says the group’s influence in Frankfort is minimal. He says most state representatives don’t like ALEC, so its model legislation doesn’t go very far.
“A lot of that information in Kentucky doesn’t really advance as well as maybe some of the other states with a little bit more of an entrepreneurial nature,“ Harmon says.
Harmon says membership numbers in Kentucky have fluctuated, but he believes most of the state senators are still current members. Harmon is state co-chair with state Sen. Tom Buford.
Harmon also says the current controversy over ALEC is due to differing philosophies and isn’t necessarily partisan.
“It’s kind of interesting you would bring that up because I know in the past one of the ALEC national chairs was actually a Democrat. So is it interesting to see, but I think it’s really more of a battle of philosophies than it necessarily is a battle of parties,” he says.
A request for comment to ALEC was not returned.