Speaking up on Restorative Justice
Americans from all walks of life were shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific images of George Floyd’s unjustified killing at the hands of those charged to serve and protect. People have united in common cause to seek change in all 50 states.
Organizations of all types and people everywhere are asking what they can do, and many of the potential solutions being discussed can be advanced most effectively by the states. Right now, we have an opportunity to listen closely, consider solutions and present our legislative members with ideas to answer the calls for justice demanded by our fellow citizens, friends, neighbors and by us.
At ALEC, we believe our duty to respond is best fulfilled through the development of peer-reviewed model policy to provide a roadmap to restorative justice. ALEC has always advanced policy that limits government power and increases individual opportunity. We push for government transparency and fight abuse of power.
We believe in the lesson of Dr. Martin Luther King: “Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere,” and has no place in a civil society.
Our American experiment was founded on equality for all under the law, but there are too many examples where laws have been used to oppress and diminish black Americans and communities of color. From our nation’s founding to Jim Crow or red-lining, it is sadly too easy to find examples where government and law have been used by those in power to keep or guard privilege and opportunity from those who do not have it.
The use of government structures to tip the balance in favor of those in power is an abuse of power.
If all people are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, it is incumbent on organizations like ours to seek opportunities to advance policy that takes these inequities into account. We must focus on creating a fair society that ensures both equality and equal opportunity under the law.
For decades, ALEC has been a national leader on bi-partisan school choice and criminal justice reform; two areas that have advanced the equity of multicultural communities in American society. During that time, ALEC has also listened, learned and grown as reflected in the changes we have made and focus on our mission.
Today, we will go further to address abuse of power. At the ALEC Annual Meeting, we will host a national convening on racial reconciliation and restorative justice. ALEC members will consider a statement of principle on policing that address standards for oversight, recruitment, training and supervision. Legislators will also consider policy on police union collective bargaining to help eliminate the systemic protection of bad actors.
Using these models we will put the full capacity of the organization behind the advancement of these policies to include legislator education, primary research, state and federal advocacy. We seek partners in this effort and commit to fighting racism and being part of the change that will create a better and more just country for everyone.
ALEC Board of Directors
Mississippi Speaker Philip Gunn, ALEC Chairman
Utah Senate President Stuart Adams, ALEC First Vice Chair
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, ALEC Treasurer
Missouri Representative Justin Hill, ALEC Secretary
Arizona Representative John Allen
Indiana Senator Jim Buck
Virginia Delegate Kathy Byron
South Carolina Representative Alan Clemmons
Missouri Senator Edgar Emery
Pennsylvania Representative Seth Grove
Mississippi Senator Josh Harkins
Tennessee Senator Brian Kelsey
Texas Representative Phil King
Wyoming Representative Dan Laursen
Wisconsin Representative John Nygren
West Virginia Senator Patricia Rucker
Colorado Representative Lori Saine
North Carolina Representative Jason Saine
Ohio Representative Bill Seitz
South Carolina Representative Garry Smith
Maine Representative Trey Stewart
Iowa Representative Linda Upmeyer
Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle