Dallas will host controversial group’s annual meeting this summer

While Dallas is busy building its bid for the 2016 Republican National Convention, the city will already be hosting another gathering of conservative political activists and lobbyists this summer. ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) will hold its annual meeting the weekend of July 30 to August 1. No agenda or details have been released yet but past speakers at ALEC events have included conservative darlings like Sen. Ted Cruz and Governor Bobby Jindal. ALEC brings together state lawmakers and corporate members to develop legislation that promotes “free market” principles. The Texas Observer reports that Texas State Representative Joe Strauss and other Republican lawmakers are being recruited to raise money for the annual meeting. The group had mostly flown under the public’s radar until reports emerged that ALEC had helped devise controversial legislation like Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. The Farmers Branch ordinance struck down recently by a federal court was also modeled on legislation proposed by ALEC. An article in the Guardian newspaper last summer highlighted how backlash from the killing of Trayvon Martin and Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law led many lawmakers to distance themselves from the group and create a funding crisis for ALEC.