Several Democrats in the Kentucky Senate have held on to their memberships in the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, despite national blowback against the group for its conservative model laws.
ALEC has been criticized for drafting conservative state laws, such as Florida's Stand Your Ground measure, and then helping lawmakers pass them. Until this year, 10 of the 15 Democratic state senators in Kentucky were members of ALEC. Six have recently allowed their memberships to be automatically renewed by the Legislative Research Commission.
Four lawmakers, Denise Harper-Angel, Tim Shaughnessy, Kathy Stein and Ray Jones, requested to leave ALEC.
Harper-Angel’s membership had been called into question in a series of blog posts by her primary opponent, Curtis Morrison.
“The thing is, you knew what they were about. If you were politically astute enough to get the office then you know what these Republicans want. We don’t need to go to meetings with them and have them wine and dine us to find out what they’re about,” Morrison says about Harper-Angel
In an e-mail supplied to Kentucky Public Radio, Harper-Angel told Morrison she stopped being active in the group in 2006. But LRC records show she did not ask her membership to be pulled until April of this year, months after Morrison’s questioning began.
Harper-Angel did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
But other Democrats, like Senators Gerald Neal and Walter Blevins, have not asked for their membership to be canceled. Blevins says he started his membership in the group to learn more about conservative laws that may come up in his chamber. He equated it to “spying on the enemy.”
Blevins says he's been reconsidering the membership, but it isn't one of his priorities because he does support some of the group's model legislation.