Back in 1973, Republicans devised a means by which to craft conservative legislation faster and cheaper than placing the burden on Senate and Congressional policy wonks.
In a partnership with businesses and their lobbyists, they created the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as a nonprofit organization of conservative state legislators and private sector representatives who drafted and shared model state-level legislation for distribution among state governments.
Between 2010 and 2018 alone, after the Republican's Operation Red Map initiative won them power in 31 state legislatures nationwide, bills based on ALEC models were introduced nearly 2,900 times, in all 50 states and the U.S. Congress. More than 600 of those bills became law. The percentage of ALEC bills that pass is strikingly high compared to the dismal rate at which all other bills are enacted into law.
Democrats have never come up with a response to ALEC -- until now.
Blue Legislative Action Council will be the blue anti-ALEC, creating legislative drafts for states and municipalities around the country.
BLAC's legislative models will be strategically crafted to allow Democratic elected officials to effectively counter and thwart Republican proposals. This repository of legislation will also address the flood issues, such as Roe v Wade and DOMA, which may revert back to state control under the present Supreme Court. Easily adaptable for each state, BLAC model's data-driven legislation will be useful for Democratic elected officials as well as Democratic candidates.
But BLAC's model legislative work doesn't end at the state level. BLAC will create strategic municipal statues and proposals, an approach which is becoming increasingly necessary in states with hostile state legislatures.
Already crafting legislation
The work of crafting strong model legislative that accomplishes our objectives requires strategic planning, extensive research, data collection, data analysis and a team of legal, legislative and campaign experts. People Over PACs will facilitate the staffing and development of the Blue Legislative Action Council. To date, two pieces of legislation have been crafted and several more await final review and drafting. Once approved by the council, the legislation (and the data that supports it) will be placed into the BLAC Legislative Repository and made available to Democratic officials and candidates nationwide, along with recommendations for media and messaging.
The SMART Act - for Police Reform in Communities
The death of George Floyd was the latest flashpoint in the American story of police brutality and misconduct toward fellow Americans. Black Americans are 3 times more likely than their white counterparts to be killed by police officers. Year after year we witness these acts and year after year the acts are met with outrage, protests, demands for justice. But yet, year after year these problems persist. Every time we are witnesses to these events, we are left wondering what can be done to end these practices and more broadly, what can be done to reverse and begin to correct the expression of systemic injustices in policing?
This time, we are also witnessing governments, corporations, organizations and other institutions make a commitment to solving this problem. We’ve legislation proposed at the federal level, as well as at the state and local levels. These reforms range from funds reallocation initiatives, to training and education imperatives, to adjustments in hiring practice and even national registries of officers who have been sanctioned.
But none of these proposals addresses one core challenge that must be overcome if we are to successfully implement the others.
There is a deeply ingrained culture that exists in policing that makes it difficult or impossible for good officers to report problematic behaviors or potentially dangerous attitudes of fellow officers. Like any profession, those who work closely together are best able to identify those who are problem actors. In policing, a profession in which officers necessarily share a close bond, because their lives may depend on one another, there is significant cultural pressure to ….
The SMART Act (Stop Misconduct and Restore Trust) empowers good officers to, with the full confidence of anonymity and confidentiality, report problem behaviors and attitudes to a completely independent body for investigation. They will finally be able to do this without fear of job loss or demotion, retribution within the ranks, retaliation or even physical harm.
By placing the responsibility for investigation into the hands of NGOs which are unconnected and completely separate from the political, judicial and departmental structures and influences that have plagued this process; and a vetted and randomly selected citizen jury that operates alongside the NGO, and has the authority to issue sanctions, we can stop misconduct and restore trust in our communities.
Police Officers and Departments
The SMART Act is the beginning of restoring trust between police officers and the communities they serve. It empowers departments and officers to rid themselves of officers who present the potential for problems. It relieves the departments from responsibility for investigating their own misconduct. Confidence in confidentiality and anonymity comes from the existence of attorney-client privilege through the NGO, even if no case is being brought at the time of the complaint.
Trust in local police departments is limited by police culture and by the knowledge that even wrongdoings are unlikely to be investigated or prosecuted because of the myriad personal, political and professional entanglements and interests at stake. Even in places where citizen review boards have been established, their effectiveness is hampered by politics (they are often appointed by elected officials) or their limited authority to do much more than make recommendations for sanctioning actions. The SMART Act communicates a strong message to citizens: that police are no longer going to be responsible for policing themselves.
The top 10 municipalities in America have collectively paid out $1.42 billion to settle various misconduct claims. For example, in 2018, Chicago paid out more than $85 million to settle police misconduct lawsuits and an additional $28 million to outside lawyers to defend these cases. Misconduct is costing taxpayers and municipalities millions of dollars that could be better directed to other services.
As the body elected to represent the needs and interests of the community, The SMART Act gives elected officials an opportunity to demonstrate and carry out their representative duty. Not only does the improved policing and investigatory process establish and maintain good faith, but money saved gives officials opportunities to deliver more services to the communities they serve.
Me Too No More Act
What began as a strategic data-driven campaign proposal for Florida Democratic House candidate Adam Hattersley, became a full bipartisan act after he won his Republican held seat in 2018. The Act, which had broad support from victims advocates and law enforcement, would eliminate the statute of limitation for sex crimes, expedite the processing of rape kits, and fund state-of-the-art FETI training programs for officers and investigators. The bill is easily adaptable to any state along with recommendations on building broad coalitions of support.
Privacy and Pay-Go Act
This bill was crafted as a result of the series of draconian abortion laws being passed in states in 2019 which would make any pregnancy not resulting in a live birth the subject of a criminal investigation. After commissioning a bipartisan poll in Alabama, this bill was crafted to allow state Democratic officials to halt implementation of any passed legislation or to prevent passage of the regressive abortion laws being debated in state chambers.
Focused on citizen privacy and finding the necessary appropriations to underwrite the cost of implementing Republican abortion laws, the bill is easily adaptable for any state.
Municipal Bills and Proposals
Community Controlled Broadband Proposal
Equalize School Funding Via Bonds Proposal