The national legislative group ALEC has received criticism lately for taking what some senators are calling radical stands on social issues.
The American Legislative Exchange Council is a group of state legislators who work with corporate members to push legislation on limited government, free markets and states’ rights.
“They believe in partnership between private and public sectors,” State Sen. Jim Smith of Papillion said.
Smith is ALEC’s Nebraska chairman. Members of ALEC meet two to three times a year, he said.
In their meetings, they discuss and share ideas, and listen to speakers.
“It’s a way of exchanging ideas,” Smith said. “ALEC has a very clear purpose or outlook and that is that it stands for free markets, limited government and Jeffersonian principles.”
Over the last two years, ALEC has lost several corporate sponsors and up to 20 percent of its legislative members.
Government watchdog groups have criticized ALEC for creating model bills fashioned by national corporations and then giving them to state legislators to pass in their states.
“The organizations that are most critical of ALEC are those that for one reason or another have a different set of ideals and outlooks on state policy,” Smith said.
Groups such as Bold Nebraska have said ALEC advocated for the Keystone XL pipeline. Smith said he has received the most opposition based on his stance supporting the pipeline.
“ALEC is a conservative organization and it stands for free market principles and it stands for free market government,” Smith said. “Those are some of the things I believe people are embracing more of today, not less of.”
World-Herald News Service contributed to this report.