Black History Month and the ALEC Opportunity Agenda
Since 1976, Americans have celebrated Black History Month every February, highlighting African American achievements and contributions to our nation. Virginia Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears said it best: “As we begin Black History Month, we aim to highlight those who have gone before us, that have helped make us the country we are today.”
In late November, the Lieutenant Governor spoke at the ALEC States and Nation Policy Summit about the importance of education for all Americans. That message has echoed across the nation this year, as Iowa and Utah have passed universal education savings accounts (ESAs) bills, with states like Florida, Arkansas, and Texas considering their own landmark reforms.
At ALEC, we are committed to providing policy solutions for all Americans. We take pride in working side-by-side with state legislators from all walks of life, helping them identify best practices that lead to growth and opportunity. The ALEC Opportunity Agenda features model policies that do just that.
ALEC Model Policy:
- Model Interstate-Mobility and Universal-Recognition Occupational Licensing Act– This model opens state economies and communities to talented, experienced workers by recognizing comparable, out-of-state occupational licenses and qualifications.
- Access to Financial Services for Unbacked and Underbanked Consumers – Over 75 million American consumers are considered to be Underbanked or Unbanked. Yet access to traditional installment credit, secured and unsecured, as well as mainstream financial services is a key enabler to wealth for all Americans. This resolution outlines ways for States to bring financial service choices to the Unbanked and Underbanked.
- Statement of Principles on Ending Home Equity Theft – Home Equity Theft occurs when a government can take an individual’s entire property—with all of its equity—over an unpaid property tax debt. This model seeks to ensure involved parties receive only the money they are owed and that the homeowner receives any remaining amount.
- Housing Affordability Impact Statement Act – This model requires all future legislation to have prepared a housing affordability impact note that shall include a reliable estimate of the anticipated impact on the cost of housing. This bill would greatly impede the future passage of costly regulations on housing.
- Resolution Calling on the Federal Government to Maximize Its Stimulus Support for Broadband Internet Adoption and Use Programs – This resolution identifies opportunities for public-private partnerships, to leverage existing broadband adoption and use programs to increase adoption rates in their communities.
ALEC Model Policy:
- The Hope Scholarship Act – This model policy expands school choice through the creation of a universal education savings account program that any student in the state can access.
- Next Generation Charter Schools Act – This model policy is a compilation of the best practices in charter school policy. This includes maximizing the number of authorizing entities for charter schools, eliminating caps on the number of or enrollment in charter schools, and maximizing public accountability of charter schools.
ALEC Model Policy:
- Hospital Price Transparency Act – The purpose of this Act is to require healthcare facilities to disclose prices for certain items and services provided by certain medical facilities; provide administrative penalties; prohibit collective action of debt for non-compliant facilities.
- Resolution in Support of Telehealth Modernization Principles – Health care providers should be allowed to practice to the full extent of their professional training through telehealth. Telehealth services ought to be available to patients who want to access their healthcare provider if their provider is in another state so long as the provider is fully licensed and trained.
SAFETY & JUSTICE
ALEC Model Policy:
- Statement of Principles on Policing and Community Engagement – The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is strongly committed to expanding opportunity for all, understanding that no individual should feel threatened or be treated differently based on the color of their skin. Fairness, justice, equal protection and safety within our criminal justice system, and in communities, are the only means for protecting and serving all Americans.
- A Bill to Ban the Box on Employment Applications – This model declares that it is the duty of states to encourage and contribute to the successful reintegration of people with a criminal history. The ability to procure meaningful employment is essential to reinstating good citizenship. The model seeks to reduce barriers to employment for persons with a criminal history in order to reduce recidivism and improve community stability.
- Resolution on Diversion of Low-Level Drug Possession Offenders – This model recognizes that many of those arrested for possessing small amounts of drugs are struggling with addiction and that prison is often an ineffective intervention, which is also extremely costly to taxpayers.
- Recidivism Reduction Act – Research and practice over the past 25 years have identified new strategies and policies that can make a significant dent in recidivism rates. Implementing these research-backed programs and procedures is called “evidence-based practice.” This Act requires that a to-be-determined percent of offenders be supervised in accordance with evidence-based practices within four years, as well as that a to-be-determined percent of state funds for offender programming be spent on programs that are evidence-based within four years.