In the legislative branch, the lobbyists write the laws and hand them to congressional representatives to present as their own – without the bills being read.
In a Two-Party System, the lobbyists simply choose which Party is more likely to support their law and then present it to them to introduce in Congress.
An investigative report by The Center for Public Integrity found:
- Models are drafted with deceptive titles and descriptions to disguise their true intent. The Asbestos Transparency Act didn’t help people exposed to asbestos. It was written by corporations who wanted to make it harder for victims to recoup their money. The “HOPE Act,” introduced in nine states, was written by a conservative advocacy group to make it more difficult for people to get food stamps.
- Special interests sometimes work to create the illusion of expert endorsements, public consensus, or grassroots support. One man testified as an expert in 13 states to support a bill that makes it more difficult to sue for asbestos exposure. In several states, lawmakers weren’t told that he was a member of the organization that wrote the model legislation on behalf of the asbestos industry, the American Legislative Exchange Council.
- Copied bills have been used to override the will of local voters and their elected leaders. Cities and counties have raised their minimum wage, banned plastic bags, and destroyed seized guns, only to have industry groups that oppose such measures make them illegal with model bills passed in state legislatures. Among them: Airbnb has supported the conservative Arizona-based Goldwater Institute, which pushed model bills to strike down local laws limiting short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods in four states.
- Industry groups have had extraordinary success pushing copycat bills that benefit themselves. More than 4,000 such measures were introduced during the period analyzed by USA TODAY/Arizona Republic. One that passed in Wisconsin limited pain-and-suffering compensation for injured nursing-home residents, restricting payouts to lost wages, which the elderly residents don’t have.
It’s time for a change in the way legislation is crafted and presented to the people’s representatives.
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