by David Safier
With this post, I'm beginning what I plan as a series of pieces about Arizona bills and resolutions which were taken almost verbatim from ALEC models.
It's no secret conservative state legislators across the country introduce legislation from the hundreds of model bills compiled by ALEC. That's a primary reason ALEC exists, and why it's funded by the Koch Brothers and other corporate titans -- to get favorable bills passed by state legislators.
A recent Capitol Times article stated,
According to ALEC, Arizona passed 19 of the 36 model bills that were introduced in the Legislature in 2010.
Digging out the specific bills and resolutions can be a laborious task. I've been working with Lisa Hoffman, who is compiling ALEC model bills and resolutions she has found on ALEC Exposed and elsewhere and matching them with similar bills and resolutions which have worked their way through the Arizona legislature in recent years. She's a trained researcher and has been doing the heavy lifting on this project. My task is to take what she digs up and present it a clear, usable format.
The first piece I'm presenting is a "tenther" -- state sovereignty -- resolution which appeared in both the 2009 and 2010 sessions. This is its main thrust:
"[T]he State of Arizona hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States."
ALEC has been on a state sovereignty crusade at least since 1994, according to an extensive research paper on the topic, but the idea has flown under the national radar until recently when the Tea Party brought the "Tenthers" to wider attention. According to ALEC Exposed, ALEC's state sovereignty model resolution dates from around 1995. The Arizona people who brought the resolution forward did little more than copy/paste ALEC's handiwork. The Arizona version is virtually identical to ALEC's, except for a few omissions and additions.
ALEC was even kind enough to include fill-in-the-blanks for dates and state names.
WHEREAS, Today, in (insert year), the states are demonstrably treated as agents of the federal government; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That the State of (insert State) hereby claims sovereignty under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the United States Constitution. [boldface added]
I've created a document with the Arizona resolution, SCR1038, and the ALEC model side by side so you can see for yourself how this works. I've color coded the passages where the versions differ.