Copy. Paste. Legislate.
April 11, 2019 8:49 AM   Subscribe

USA TODAY found more than 4,000 bills benefiting industry were introduced nationwide during the eight years it  reviewed. More than 80 of those bills limit the public’s ability to sue corporations, including limiting class-action lawsuits, a plaintiff’s ability to offer expert testimony, and cap punitive damages for corporate wrongdoing. “No citizens are saying, ‘Hey, can you make it harder to sue if … low-paid (nursing home) orderlies happened to kill or injure my parents,’ ” Graves said. “That’s not a  thing  citizen are clamoring for. But you know who is? The nursing home industry, and big business in general.” You Elected Them To Write New Laws. They’re Letting Corporations Do It Instead. “More than a year ago, I was asked to do the impossible. Help build an algorithm that could tease out what statehouse bills were created from model legislation (ie copy-paste legislation). Along with a terrific team @USATODAY and @azcentral. We did it. Here’s how. (THREAD)”
posted by The Whelk (8 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
PATRIARCHY: “Hmm, how can I make things worse?”
posted by Fizz at 8:52 AM on April 11, 2019 [13 favorites]

One of the things I’ve learned recently is that one of the easiest things for representatives to cut is their staffers - but normally the staffers are the ones who write bills. This is the consequence.
posted by corb at 9:08 AM on April 11, 2019 [6 favorites]

No one can know every issue, so it's certainly helpful to have someone show you around when you're new. And if you're not sure where the corners even are, just look in the wastebasket after your industry docent has finished getting you orientated, philosophy-wise.
posted by Cris E at 9:20 AM on April 11, 2019

Bills copied from model legislation have been used to override the will of local voters and their elected leaders. Cities and counties have raised their minimum wage, banned plastic bags and destroyed seized guns, only to have industry groups that oppose such measures make them illegal with model bills passed in state legislatures.

This happens all the time in Texas, where it's all about local control until the locals do something remotely progressive and then they roll in to shut that shit down pronto.
posted by emjaybee at 9:26 AM on April 11, 2019 [16 favorites]

ALEC - the driving force behind this shitstorm of antidemocratic corporate capture of the legislature - previously.
posted by lalochezia at 9:26 AM on April 11, 2019 [8 favorites]

Good example of journalism using big data and data analytics.
posted by doctornemo at 9:57 AM on April 11, 2019 [9 favorites]

This is the kind of everyday corruption that has slowly steered our ship of state to Plutocracy.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:44 PM on April 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

T minus 15 seconds until "They're on to us, Boss, so we added this random Markov generator function to make it less likely that the copy-paste legislation will all be machine detectable"
posted by caution live frogs at 1:47 PM on April 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

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