Arizona lawmakers who meet privately with special interest groups to formulate legislation could be violating the state’s open meeting law, an Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled.
The case, which was brought by Puente Human Rights Movement and several other liberal leaning groups, could force more lawmakers to provide more transparency in meetings with organizations such as conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.
The groups filed the suit against the Legislature in December 2019 in Maricopa County Superior Court, which was the same day that ALEC kicked off a three-day conference in Scottsdale.
ALEC is a well-known group that develops “model legislation” which legislators in multiple states bring home from conferences to codify into law, such as legislation that targets boycott actions against Israel, corporate liability, gun laws and voter ID laws, among others.
Hundreds of lawmakers and corporate lobbyists meet annually at ALEC’s conferences, which are funded by private and corporate donors. Republican legislators say the conferences provide scholarships for young people and educate lawmakers about different policies that have worked in other states.
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, a longtime member and recent treasurer of ALEC, is the organization’s national chairwoman for 2022.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: AZ CENTRAL