Issues Archive

  • Agriculture image

    Agriculture

    In a 1787 letter to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson wrote that “[a]griculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness.” Agriculture, perhaps more so than any other vocation or enterprise, is indelibly American. Defined as the cultivation of plants, animals and other life forms for food, medicine and other …

    + Agriculture In Depth

  • Broadband image

    Broadband

    Access to a fast Internet connection returns a great of value to consumers. Whether for education, furthering a career, innovating or just enjoying entertainment, broadband access can open new worlds of opportunity. The great news is that the promise of broadband is being realized across the country, in urban and rural communities, including all demographics, amongst the middle class and …

    + Broadband In Depth

  • Business image

    Business

    Maintaining a healthy economy and fostering economic growth is one of the most important priorities for hardworking Americans. The cost of everyday life is increasing and people need to make sure that their job opportunities and paychecks keep up. Policymakers must create a plan of action that focuses on policies that increase economic opportunity, promote freedom of association and lower …

    + Business In Depth

  • Criminal Justice Reform image

    Criminal Justice Reform

    The American Legislative Exchange Council is proud to be a leader on criminal justice reforms in the states. Since 2008, the ALEC task force on criminal justice reform, called the Justice Performance Project, has brought state legislators and stakeholders together to combat the trend of unforgiving and harsh criminal laws. ALEC members focus on new and innovative state policies that …

    + Criminal Justice Reform In Depth

  • Cronyism image

    Cronyism

    Cronyism in tax policy stifles innovation, hinders competition and introduces a deep temptation for corruption. The 2014 ALEC Center for State Fiscal Reform study, The Unseen Costs of Tax Cronyism: Favoritism and Foregone Growth, found that in the most recent year in which states published their respective tax expenditure reports, tax carve-outs totaled $228 billion for personal income and …

    + Cronyism In Depth

  • Economic Development image

    Economic Development

    The United States is among the most developed economies in the world. This has led to a standard of living that is simply unmatched throughout the world or throughout history. Even in such a developed and comparatively wealthy nation, policymakers still must allocate resources appropriately to encourage further economic development in their own communities and bring the benefits of a …

    + Economic Development In Depth

  • Education image

    Education

    An excellent education has long been recognized as key to the American Dream. Unfortunately, the current monopolistic and expensive K-12 education system is failing our students, leaving them unprepared for college, careers, or life. Similarly, our higher education system is leaving students with higher debt burdens and fewer career guarantees than ever before. While the left argues that our ailing …

    + Education In Depth

  • Energy image

    Energy

    It is difficult – and perhaps even impossible – to overstate the relationship between readily available access to safe, affordable and reliable energy and individual prosperity and economic wellbeing. This is because energy is an input to virtually everything we produce, consume and enjoy in society. Think for a minute about the computer or tablet you are currently using to …

    + Energy In Depth

  • Environmental Stewardship image

    Environmental Stewardship

    Listen to any news broadcast, read any press release from an environmental advocacy group or simply watch the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) propose new regulation after new regulation, and it would be nearly impossible to not come away concerned or even fearful of imminent environmental disaster. It should come as no surprise that public opinion polling shows that large …

    + Environmental Stewardship In Depth

  • Federalism image

    Federalism

    Genuine accountability to hardworking taxpayers results when state and local legislators work with members of the community to determine a plan of action that is right for each individual state, city or town. Real solutions to America’s challenges can be found in the states – America’s fifty laboratories of democracy – not in one-size fits all federal government policies that …

    + Federalism In Depth

  • Free Speech image

    Free Speech

    Freedom of speech is paramount for the American system of government and American culture. Born from revolution, American society has been created, evolved and progressed based in part, on the First Amendment. More specifically, free speech allows individual’s to use their own voice to ensure “We the People” would control their own destiny without government intrusion or interference. Freedom of …

    + Free Speech In Depth

  • Health image

    Health

    There has never been a time when both federal and state jurisdictions have been more in control of American’s healthcare than it is today. Implementation of the Affordable Care Act is well in motion, and each state has considered how to address provisions of the federal law as it has been mandated to take effect. At ALEC, we are constantly …

    + Health In Depth

  • Human Services image

    Human Services

    The welfare state is larger than it has ever been in U.S. history. As Americans we spend nearly one trillion dollars a year on federal and state human services programs, yet despite public investment the poverty rate has risen to 15.1 percent. Public assistance is necessary to help those who are truly in need, however these programs are rarely called …

    + Human Services In Depth

  • Innovation image

    Innovation

    Whether improving processes, creating products or developing new ideas, the application of technology can enable real changes in how state government works, both in quality of services delivered to constituents, cost savings and quality of life. States have the opportunity in our national balance of government power, to address policy challenges through innovation and experimentation, to lead by being the …

    + Innovation In Depth

  • Insurance image

    Insurance

    Mitigating and managing risks for both businesses and families and is critical for maintaining peace of mind that allows both businesses and families to thrive. Insurance policy ranges from vehicle to life insurance and cover everything in between. This diverse portfolio of issues can vary greatly by state, meaning that it is important that states are able to regulate their …

    + Insurance In Depth

  • Intellectual Property image

    Intellectual Property

    Innovation and the intellectual property (IP) often underpinning it are crucial drivers of human progress. Innovation saves lives, facilitates human connections that have even sparked revolutions and entertains and enchants people around the globe. Pharmaceuticals, computer operating systems, social networking sites and films are all tangible examples of the intellectual property that improve quality of life worldwide.  IP rights and …

    + Intellectual Property In Depth

  • International Trade image

    International Trade

    International trade creates jobs and drives economic growth. Trade supports millions of American jobs that offer higher than average wages. The vast majority of U.S. exporters are not large corporations but small to medium sized enterprises—an often untold story of American entrepreneurship. Those that doubt the power of global free markets need only observe America’s trading partners who are accelerating …

    + International Trade In Depth

  • Lawsuit Reform image

    Lawsuit Reform

    State legal systems and the liability they exert on businesses and individuals are a disincentive to bad behavior and allow fair players to succeed in the marketplace. When lawsuits inappropriately punish good actors, resources are sucked out of the business economy, away from research & development and job creation. Lawsuit reform, or tort reform, refocuses litigation on the reasonable reimbursement …

    + Lawsuit Reform In Depth

  • Pension Reform image

    Pension Reform

    Modern, 401(k)-style plans are now commonplace in the private sector. For state workers, however, traditional pensions are still the norm. As former Utah State Senator Dan Liljenquist wrote in Keeping the Promise: State Solutions for Government Pension Reform, this is not a partisan issue, but a math problem. State Budget Solutions, a project of the ALEC Center for State Fiscal …

    + Pension Reform In Depth

  • Privacy and Security image

    Privacy and Security

    A market environment is essential for future success of the Internet. A consumer and private-sector-driven approach to privacy via self-regulation avoids undue regulatory burden that would threaten a thriving electronic marketplace. The Internet has flourished due in large part to the unregulated environment in which it has developed and grown. Self-regulation, industry-driven standards, individual empowerment and a market environment generally …

    + Privacy and Security In Depth

  • Regulatory Reform image

    Regulatory Reform

    In his first inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson said that “the sum of good government” was one “which shall restrain men from injuring one another” and “shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry.” Sadly, governments – both federal and state – have ignored this axiom and continue to rapidly expand the already immense regulatory state. Virtually …

    + Regulatory Reform In Depth

  • State Budgets image

    State Budgets

    Smart budgeting is vital to a state’s financial health. The ALEC State Budget Reform Toolkit offers more than 20 policy ideas for addressing today’s shortfalls in a forthright manner, without resorting to budget gimmicks or damaging tax increases. One way to stabilize budgets over time is to embrace Tax and Expenditure Limitations (TELs). The most effective TELs, …

    + State Budgets In Depth

  • Tax Reform image

    Tax Reform

    Mainstream economists, small business owners and taxpayers across the country understand that growth-oriented reforms mean increased opportunity for all. As demonstrated by the annual Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index, sound tax and fiscal policies are critical to economic health, allowing businesses and households to flourish. A dynamic state economy starts with a principled tax code. As …

    + Tax Reform In Depth

  • Transportation image

    Transportation

    Maintaining a functional and healthy infrastructure is one of the cornerstones to economic growth. State transportation policy should encourage the use of public-private partnerships to build and maintain infrastructure, give states the flexibility to determine how to best utilize transportation dollars and remove unnecessary burdens to innovation. Adopting free-market policies that include collaboration with the private sector, transportation systems and …

    + Transportation In Depth

  • Workforce Development image

    Workforce Development

    American businesses are increasingly worried about the quality of the workforce pool from which they will be hiring. Too few American students are graduating high school or college with the skills employers need. And while college is a pathway to career success for many students, it’s far from the only one. The first link of the problem is, of course, …

    + Workforce Development In Depth