Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries today blasted the American Legislative Exchange Council, the nonprofit public policy group under increasing scrutiny following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin due to its role in writing Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law.
Jeffries, who is currently running for Congress, said Martin’s death sent shock waves through the largely African American community he represents in Brooklyn, but that revelations about the law and ALEC’s role in pushing it, not just in Florida but in New York and elsewhere, were equally shocking.
“It revealed for us in New York the magnitude of this effort that ALEC has launched all across the country,” Jeffries said on a conference call organized by the liberal Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “Here in New York, we’ve called on this state senator to withdraw this reckless and irresponsible legislation. And more importantly, we’re proud to be able to participate in the effort to expose ALEC really as a right-wing front group.”
That New York lawmaker is state Sen. George Maziarz, who has refused to withdraw the bill. Senate Republicans have indicated they will not take up the measure. Jeffries did not mention Mariarz by name during the call.
ALEC has been subject to increasing criticism across the country. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has successfully lobbied a growing number of corporations, including Coca Cola and McDonald’s, to sever their sponsorship ties with the group.
Jeffries and a number of lawmakers from other states also called on any Democratic legislators who are members to leave the group. It’s not immediately clear whether any New York Democrats are members.
“It’s a sham to project that it is bipartisan in nature, and no Democrat should give aid and comfort to this organization by participating in it to promote its alleged bipartisanship,” Jeffries said. “And so it’s very important that members of the Democratic Party, who have traditionally have stood for enfranchising voters, and have stood for promoting the rights to organize, and for sensible gun laws, should withdraw from an organization that pushes an agenda is exactly the opposite.”
Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb and state Sens. Owen Johnson and Greg Ball, all Republicans, are the state members of ALEC, according to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
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