When North Carolina voters elected Pat McCrory as their governor in 2012, it was the first time in 28 years that North Carolinians had elected a Republican governor, and the first time in 100 years that Republicans controlled the governor’s office and the state legislature in the Tar Heel state. Since the gubernatorial election, the conservative North Carolina legislature has had the opportunity to propose and pass some extreme and restrictive pieces of legislation — and they did just that, with the help of certain special interest groups.
According to a report in The Charlotte Observer, The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has had just as much say in the state’s policies as any elected official.
ALEC is a self-described “nonpartisan membership association for conservative state lawmakers who shared a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty” that began as President Reagan took office in 1981. The Charlotte Observer reports that ALEC had proposed 466 bills modeled on the organization’s conservative vision for states throughout the country.
“Republican lawmakers passed 338 laws this year that will touch every North Carolinian’s pocketbook, every student’s classroom and every voter’s experience at the polls, writes The Observer. “Their sweeping changes have drawn praise from conservatives, scorn from Democrats and punch lines on Comedy Central.”
“At one point, Raleigh’s News & Observer counted at least two dozen bills that matched ALEC priorities,” the article goes on to say. “They included voter ID, publicly financed vouchers for private schools, and prioritizing energy exploration.”
Two North Carolina lawmakers sit on ALEC’s board of directors: Former House Speaker Harold Brubaker (R), and current House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) (who is also squaring off against incumbent Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) for her senate seat in 2014.) Tillis won ALEC’s “Legislator of the Year” award in 2011.