http://www.commondr eams.org/ newswire/ 2009/12/14- 8
~NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD RELEASES POLICY PAPER ON HOW CORPORATE INTERESTS
INFLUENCE STATE TERRORISM LEGISLATION~
NEW YORK - December 14 - The National Lawyers Guild has issued a policy paper
showing the influence of model legislation drafted by the American Legislative
Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative group of state legislators, on state
legislation around the country.
Federal legislation passed in 2006, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA),
was largely drafted by ALEC and has drawn a great deal of attention and
criticism from animal rights and environmental activists. The Act which purports
to protect animal enterprises from so-called "eco-terrorists, " is a vague and
unnecessarily broad law that has already been used to restrict First Amendment
rights. The Guild's policy paper, Beyond AETA: How Corporate-Crafted Legislation
Brands Activists as Terrorists, explains that AETA is not unique in this
respect. Similar bills have been introduced in several state legislatures over
the last few years, and most of them stem from the model bill produced by ALEC.
ALEC's model legislation:
- Suggests adding the phrase "politically motivated" to the definition of an
"animal or ecological terrorist organization, " which clearly shows that the
bill is designed to suppress speech based on its content. - Defines illegal
activity so broadly that anyone using the Internet or email to plan (or even
express support for) an act of "animal or ecological terrorism" can be charged.
- Creates a "terrorist registry" - an online database open to the public which
contains names, addresses and photos of everyone convicted of "animal or
NLG Executive Director Heidi Boghosian said: "Although many states considered
and outright rejected the ALEC bill soon after its release, there are still
signs that parts of the legislation are being incorporated in some states' laws
that equate animal rights activists with domestic terrorism. The Guild remains
vigilant in tracking the development of such overly-broad legislation. "
Read the policy paper at www.nlg.org .
The National Lawyers Guild was founded in 1937 and is the oldest and largest
public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. Its
headquarters are in New York and it has chapters in every state.
The National Lawyers Guild is dedicated to the need for basic and progressive
change in the structure of our political and economic system. Through its
members--lawyers, law students, jailhouse lawyers and legal workers united in
chapters and committees-- the Guild works locally, nationally and
internationally as an effective political and social force in the service of the