Managing Creative Disruption in the States

Legislative session is underway in 47 states, two have already adjourned and one has yet to gavel in. During session, legislators in every state will make tough decisions. They will set priorities to grow the economy and increase individual opportunity while they fight to decrease regulation and government meddling. But, that’s a delicate balance. And, as new and innovative ideas and solutions come to the market—potentially leading to services that will move the American economy forward—I’m hearing from legislators that they need help assessing policy because things are not always as they seem. There are plenty of disruptors out there, but markets need stability and people need a clear view of the future.

As the leading voice in free-market state policy, that is where ALEC comes in. ALEC—through substantive discussion—ensures legislators are equipped to manage the creative disruption at their doorstep.

Already this year the ALEC team has crisscrossed the country to make sure legislators have the right information—a framework upon which to base policy decisions that increase freedom and opportunity for all people.

ALEC policy experts have been educating on academic free speech issues in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Mississippi; donor privacy in Oklahoma; lawsuit reform in Missouri; criminal justice issues in Maryland and South Carolina; critical infrastructure protection in Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Mississippi, Indiana, North Dakota and Wyoming; and, income tax issues in Arizona and Wyoming to name just a few areas of relevance this session.

It might seem cut and dry: Students should be able to test academic boundaries on campus, donors should have the right to privacy around their contributions and speech (think about the Federalist Papers). But it’s not always that simple. The trend of government is to expand and to regulate, and ALEC legislators stand in the breach to defend and promote the policies that create opportunity and respect hardworking taxpayers absent government.

There are examples this session that prove the point: In Arizona, Governor Ducey vetoed legislative efforts to provide substantial tax relief for hardworking taxpayers. Many states are taking advantage of resources brought to state budgets via recent federal tax reform, but for now, Arizona sits on the sidelines. In Wyoming, the House introduced legislation that would create the state’s first business income tax of seven percent that would be discriminatory towards many of the states’s retailers and franchisees. There are no permanent victories, but there are also no permanent defeats. And, ALEC legislators and policy experts meet each challenge head on to preserve opportunity for the people.

So far this session, ALEC legislators have been creative as they advanced civil asset forfeiture protections in South Carolina and Alabama. In South Carolina, ALEC Chairman Alan Clemmons developed a partnership and worked with National Black Caucus of State Legislators President Gilda Cobb-Hunter, also a South Carolina state legislator to introduce a bill based on ALEC model Asset Forfeiture Process and Private Property Protection Act and the Reporting of Seizure and Forfeiture Act. In Alabama, Representative Arnold Mooney who first learned about civil asset forfeiture at an ALEC meeting worked with the Alabama District Attorneys Association to enshrine civil asset forfeiture protections extra-legislatively after the proposed measure narrowly failed in 2018.

ALEC is a lifeline of good ideas for legislators in states across the country. Our convenings ensure the brightest minds meet with the most active and professional legislators in the country. And as you well know by now, ALEC legislators are more effective at collaboration, introduction and passage of policy. They are more effective for one simple reason: they have the right tools and information to get the job done on behalf of the people they represent. That’s why ALEC legislators have created dynamic change in the states for more than two generations and will continue to for generations to come. That’s why ALEC matters.