This week in Denver, July 19-21, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) will welcome Republican state legislators and its corporate funders, including Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, K12 Inc., Peabody Energy, and PhRMA, to vote on corporate legislative priorities and create cookie cutter “model” bills in task force meetings that are still closed to the press.
ALEC will welcome U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Newt Gingrich and other Trump loyalists to the meeting.
On the agenda for debate and discussion? A model bill to repeal the 17th Amendment, which established the popular election of United States Senators in 1913.
Previously, U.S. Senators were selected by state legislatures and political party bosses beholden to powerful industries. The corruption scandals erupting from the wheeling and dealing fueled some of the great muckraking investigative journalism of the early 20th Century. In 1912, progressive Republican U.S. Senator Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follettecampaigned for the popular election of U.S. Senators as a means of cracking down on political corruption and corporate control of the democracy. Reformers introduced direct primary elections, ballot initiatives, and recall votes, in the same time period.
Now right-wing extremists want to roll back the clock to enable Republican state houses and Republican governors to hijack at least 10 U.S. Senate Seats held by Democrats in Republican trifecta states, and force an ever more extreme agenda through Congress.
ALEC’s model bill to repeal 17th amendment
The “Draft Resolution Recommending Constitutional Amendment Restoring Election Of U.S. Senators To The Legislatures Of The Sovereign States” is scheduled to be debated by ALEC’s Federalism and International Relations Task Force in Denver.