The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a nonprofit organization of conservative state legislators and private sector representatives that drafts and shares model state-level legislation for distribution among state governments in the United States.
ALEC provides a forum for state legislators and private sector members to collaborate on model bills—draft legislation that members may customize and introduce for debate in their own state legislatures. ALEC has produced model bills on a broad range of issues, such as reducing regulation and individual and corporate taxation, combating illegal immigration, loosening environmental regulations, tightening voter identification rules, weakening labor unions and opposing gun control. Some of these bills dominate legislative agendas in states such as Arizona, Wisconsin, Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Maine. Approximately 200 model bills become law each year. ALEC also serves as a networking tool among state legislators, allowing them to research conservative policies implemented in other states. Many ALEC legislators say the organization converts campaign rhetoric and nascent policy ideas into legislative language.
ALEC’s activities, while legal, received public scrutiny after being reported by liberal groups in 2011 and after news reports from outlets such as The New York Times and Bloomberg Businessweek described ALEC as an organization that gave corporate interests outsized influence. Resulting public pressure led to a number of legislators and corporations withdrawing from the organization.