Followers of this site won’t be shocked by the fact that special interest groups overwhelmingly control our state legislature. Whether lawmakers are defending oil overlords, the tobacco industry, huge beer corporations, or even their own colleagues who choose to leave public service for the noble pursuit of persuading the government to bow to corporate desires, we all figured that those who line the pockets write the laws.
Our worst fears have been confirmed. From News9:
OKLAHOMA CITY – A two-year investigation shows Oklahoma lawmakers filed more than 400 bills that were either modeled off of or directly copied from bills written by special interest groups, designed to benefit companies rather than voters.The investigation was done by USA Today, The Center for Public Integrity and The Arizona Republic.Oklahoma was fifth highest in the country for copy and paste bills filed. When it came to passing those bills Oklahoma ranked third, after Illinios [sic] and Arizona, respectively
Earlier this year a News9/Newson6 investigation into copy-paste bills asked lawmakers whether they’d favor of disclosing who wrote their bills to the public. The majority of lawmakers never answered.
Well, that’s a shocker. “Hey, just checking in, but did you plagiarize this bill from a draft that Corporate Donor Inc. sent to you? No response? Huh..”
The full study was conducted by USA Today and The Arizona Republic, and is worth reading to understand the situation that huge entities with all the money have placed our nation in. I think it’s the first time I’ve read USA Today and taken them seriously since I read a copy leftover by some old man at a Denny’s when I was a teenager, but it seems like they’ve done some serious work:
Using data provided by LegiScan, which tracks every proposed law introduced in the U.S., we pulled in digital copies of nearly 1 million pieces of legislation introduced between 2010 and Oct. 15, 2018. The data included a limited number of bills from 2008 and 2009.
We then asked a dozen reporters covering state legislatures for USA TODAY Network newsrooms across the nation to build a list of model bills by searching special-interest groups’ websites, scouring news coverage and interviewing lobbyists and lawmakers. We identified more than 2,100 models, a list that is far from complete because many groups don’t make their models public.
We then used a computer algorithm designed to recognize similar words and phrases and compared each model in our database to the bills that lawmakers had introduced.
These comparisons were powered by the equivalent of more than 150 computers, called virtual machines, that ran nonstop for months.
According to one of their charts, Oklahoma passed the second-most copied and pasted bills in the nation, about 120 in all. That’s a pretty good ratio, considering more than 400 of the bills that our legislature introduced contained the same language as ones that lobbyists had presented. When you think about how many ridiculous and unconstitutional bills get introduced every year, ya gotta wonder how many of those are in this “Sponsored By Pepsi” class of lobbyist intervention.
In an unsurprising chart, the majority of bills written in Oklahoma are by Republicans, but the 2nd highest amount weren’t penned by the minority party- they were first conceived by industry.
Hopefully, this will bring some light to where candidates’ money come from, and when the next election rolls around we’re looking at campaign financing as hard as we do.. uhhh.. whatever other metrics voters use to decide on the creeps that we bring into the house and senate.