Democracy is under attack, not only in D.C., but in the state capitols.

To understand just how serious this attack is, how insidious it is, how well-funded it is, please open the link.

This new USA Today/Arizona Republic/Center for Public Integrity in-depth investigation is a bombshell report on the thousands of “copy-and-paste bills” introduced and passed in state legislatures which purport to represent local interests but instead further a corporate or industry agenda. Among the goals: passing ESA Vouchers that siphon public funds from public education and redirect them to private, religious and home schooling.

ALEC and corporate America are churning out legislation that is introduced in your state under false pretenses as “reform.” Every one of these bills is meant to protect corporations and profiteers, whether in health care or any other industry.

You may have noticed a sudden mushrooming of voucher legislation in state after state. It was not written by your legislators. It was written by the rightwing corporate funded American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC.

Not only is ALEC funded by corporations, it is funded by the DeVos family and the Koch brothers.

Arizona SOS beat them last fall by fighting for a referendum on vouchers. ALEC and the Koch brothers lost 65-35. The corporate mobsters hate refunds. They prefer to buy legislators, which is easier and cheaper.

There is quite a lot of fascinating material about the hoaxing of the public.

Here is the education piece:

“For Susan Edwards, it seemed like a godsend when Arizona lawmakers introduced a bill to create a new kind of school voucher for students with disabilities.

“With the money – funded by dollars taken from a recipient’s local district school – the mother of two children on the autism spectrum could send her kids to a private school where they would receive specialized attention they wouldn’t get elsewhere.

“With a sympathetic group of students as the face of the legislation, Democrats and Republicans rallied behind the 2011 bill which borrowed language from the Goldwater Institute, ALEC, and American Federation for Children, the pro-school choice group founded by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

“Edwards’ opinion of the program, however, changed drastically as legislators later introduced bill after bill to give vouchers to more students, culminating in lawmakers approving them for all students.

“None of those bills, however, guaranteed Edwards’ sons and others with disabilities could keep their vouchers as more students were added. She didn’t know it at the time, but lawmakers were drawing their ideas from model  legislation.

“Edwards said  she realized in retrospect that students with disabilities were used as a Trojan horse to put on the legislative agenda a fringe idea that was part of a much bigger campaign. In the years that followed, 19 other states debated 93 nearly identical proposals based on model legislation. They became law in Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina and Tennessee.

“Every single, little  expansion, if you look at who’s behind it, it is the people that want to get that door kicked open for private religious education,” Edwards said. ”All we (families with disabled students) are was the way for them to crack open the door.”

“Riches, Goldwater’s CEO, said starting the Empowerment Scholarship Account voucher program with a small group of students and expanding it was the best approach.

“When you are talking about a big idea, a new idea, usually the best way of approaching it is to wade into it and demonstrate it can work on a smaller level and then grow it from there,” Riches said.

“The groups behind Arizona’s move toward universal vouchers, however, were shown in indisputable terms that the public opposed their ideas.

“On Election Day 2018, Arizona voters rejected universal vouchers by a 65-35 margin.

“It was only the most recent example of model legislation that didn’t reflect the will of voters, USA TODAY/Arizona Republic found.

“Model-legislation factories have increasingly proposed what are known as “preemption” bills. These laws, in effect, allow state legislators to dictate to city councils and county governing boards what they can and cannot do within their jurisdiction—including preventing them from raising the minimum wage, banning plastic grocery bags, and destroying guns.  

“USA TODAY’s algorithm found more than 100 such bills had been introduced on an expanding array of topics.

“Kansas stopped local efforts to require restaurants to list calories on their menus.

“Arizona and New Hampshire prevented local regulations on home rentals. Airbnb has lobbied against home-sharing restrictions, often with the Goldwater Institute’s assistance.

“One model pushed by ALEC and the Goldwater Institute prohibits local jurisdictions from creating occupational licensing requirements. It reflects conservatives’ and libertarians’ belief that job licensing stifles competition and hurts the economy, and should only be required when it involves health and safety.”

At least 20 states have enacted voucher legislation, most using the ALEC model. Only Arizona held a referendum, which SOS Arizona fought for and handily defeated despite being outspent by the Koch and DeVos forces.