This is one of those elephants in the room stories.
There is this business org called ALEC: American Legislative Exchange Council
They have been around for a long time, 40 years, and keep a low profile
composed of politically conservative state legislators. According to its website, ALEC "works to advance the fundamental principles of free-market enterprise, limited government, and federalism at the state level through a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America's state legislators, members of the private sector and the general public."
ALEC provides a forum for state legislators and private sector members to collaborate on model bills—draft legislation that members can customize for communities and introduce for debate in their own state legislatures. Approximately 200 such bills become law each year.
So this is a membership org that has two types of members..... state legislators and large corporations (ATT, Exon, etc).
From the "large Corporation" side, members get the oppotunity to lobby a large number of state legislators all through one place.
But it is more than lobbying. ALEC actuall WRITES legislation for the elected reps to present in thier state legislature.
Most of us do not think too much about how these state legislatures work. But they operate on a pittanve compared to congress. In Texas, a representative learns less than $10K, and has very little staff support to help him out.
But legislation can be very complex and difficulot to write. So ALEC give them boilerplate bills, packaged along with all the research and talking points that State reps need.
But of course the proposed legislation is not random, nor is it selectd on the particular need of the stae. The legislation is all crafted to serve an agenda. And particularly the agenda of the large corps who fund ALEC.
So mostly it is stuff to reduce gov. regulation. But, for example, ALEC has a lot of large energy producer sponsors. Like Exon and Koch Industries. So they want legislation to make it easy to do Fracking.
But also, these guys really do not like competition, So they are pushin initiavies to PENALIZE people who install things like Photo voltaic solar panels.
From their view, there is this enormous energy infrastructure that costs a lot of money. And people who install PV systems are "free riders" who do not contribute to paying for the infrastructure costs. So it makes sense to make them pay extra fees and taxes.
ALEC has also become more controversial recently because they are promoting bills that do not directly benefit their corporate sponsors. FOr example, ALEC was pretty impressed by Floridas'S satnd your gound law. And they used that law as a basis to create model legislation that other state reps could take back to their state and get in the game.
ALEC has also been enthusiastic about voter ID laws. So they have been busy crafing model legislation that the state reps could promote in their own states.
And for those intereseted in "transparency"
you will be happy to know that all of this stuff happens behind closed doors.