by Max Brantley
The American Legislative Exchange Council is convening in Salt Lake City. There, corporate lobbyists continue the Koch Bros. tradition of plying state legislators with food and drink at a bargain participation price so they may send them home with anti-tax, anti-regulation, anti-populist and, generally, anti-Democratic legislation for introduction in their home legislatures.
One session this year, kid you not, is Can Tobacco Can Cure Smoking?. Tobacco companies are apparently pitching smokeless dip and chew as a substitute to the increasingly banned cigarette.
Disregard for the environment is high on ALEC's list of faves. (There was one arrest of an environmental protester.) I see legislators will be instructed, too, in the perils of cities establishing wireless networks for their citizens.
More headlines here. The frivolity is apparently undiminished by the exodus of corporate sponsors under recent glare of ALEC's corporatist activities and, particularly, its efforts to strip voter rolls of minority and poor and elderly voters to increase Republican election chances.
Arkansas legislators are on the scene for ideas to bring home — school vouchers, voter ID, the health benefits of mercurcy and carbon dioxide (OK, last two are a joke — I think).
All Republican — Michael Lamoureux, lobbyist-in-waiting Gilbert Baker and Cecile Bledsoe.
Democrats: Charlotte Wagner, Randy Stewart
Republicans: Andrea Lea, Lori Benedict, Mark Biviano, Anny Clemmer, Tim Summers, John Burris, Mary L. Slinkard.
Nothing good can come of it. Come January, if predictions of a 20-Republican Senate and 53-Republican House come true, you'll be eating the sandwich in big bites. And the governor won't have a helluva lot to say about it.