ALEC convention still a draw for state lawmakers

More than two dozen Kansas legislators plan to attend the American Legislative Exchange Council national convention in Chicago next week, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. This includes Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, and House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, who are on ALEC’s national board. The corporate-backed ALEC has come under heat in recent years for writing “model legislation” for voter-ID and “stand your ground” laws. More than a dozen major companies, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s and Walmart, dropped their memberships. State taxpayers subsidize $475 of the registration cost of the trip per legislator, as well as paying travel costs if lawmakers serve in a leadership role with ALEC. One of the events at ALEC will be a Kansas night dinner at an expensive lakefront restaurant that will be mostly underwritten by corporate sponsors.