Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Slate article says shadowy corporate group influenced Idaho governor

Posted By on Wed, Sep 14, 2016 at 4:22 PM

click to enlarge Idaho Gov. Butch Otter
  • Idaho Gov. Butch Otter

Slate, an online magazine, recently published a story looking at the efforts by a shadowy corporate group to keep city and county governments from enacting protections for workers and the environment. That influence, according to Slate, extends to Idaho.

The article examines the work of the American City County Exchange. It’s an offshoot of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, an organization that’s been scrutinized for producing model legislation that critics say is written on behalf of corporate interests. The ACCE, according to the article, has a similar mission that’s aimed at reducing the reach of local governments, which in recent years have been more willing to pass progressive laws, much to the chagrin of Republican-dominated statehouses.

According to the article, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter was influenced by this group when he was considering an ALEC-modeled bill that would ban local governments from passing bans on plastic bags (Slate writes that no local jurisdiction in Idaho was considering such a ban). Citing Jon Russell, the head of the ACCE, the article states that Otter was hesitant to support the bill until he saw a white paper from the group and signed it into law.

The Inlander reached out to Otter’s office for comment. In an email, Mark Warbis, spokesman for the governor, states that the Slate article got it wrong in stating that no local jurisdiction had considered a ban and pointed to an article in the Mountain Express newspaper that reported that Ketchum had voted for a limited plastic bag ban.

As for further response on the influence of ACCE, Warbis writes, “We have no comment on the plastic bag issue.”
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