Database: Oregon ALEC Bills

The database below, researched and compiled by KBOO reporters, shows the connection between ALEC model bills and Oregon legislation as well as which legislators supported each bill, either as a sponsor or by casting a yes vote.  This spreadsheet shows only yes votes.  Bills may show as (1) introduced with no sponsors or votes, (2) introduced with a few sponsors but no votes, (3) introduced with sponsors and votes from one chamber and (4) introduced with sponsors and votes from both chambers. Use the toggles on the right side of the screen to narrow down the database by year, bill number, pass/fail, ALEC Model Bill, and ALEC Task Force.

Key to Task Forces: CJ=Civil Justice; EEA=Energy, Environment & Agriculture; CIED=Commerce, Insurance, Economic Development;CT=Communication & Technology; E=Education; TFP =Tax & Fiscal Policy; PSE=Public Safety & Elections; HHS=Health & Human Services; CJHS=Civil Justice Homeland Security


When KBOO initially approached this project, we decided first to convert all of the source documents into a common format to make it easier to search and compare those source documents later. We did that with all of the nearly 800 archived model bills on ALEC’s website. And because the Legislative Council told KBOO that Oregon legislation was not available in text form, we also downloaded and converted all Oregon legislation between 2011 and 2014. Converting all of the primary source material into a common format had two purposes:

1. To help us identify legislators and the Oregon legislation they supported quickly and efficiently rather than rely on the methods that currently existed; namely websites that only allowed the searching of documents one at a time.

2. To allow us to quickly compare blocks of text in Oregon legislation and ALEC model bills to find similarities in the language.

To do this, we used a plagiarism software program called WCopyFind. ALEC model bills are written generically to provide maximum flexibility to the needs of a wide range of state legislatures. Frequently, legislators told KBOO that at conferences, they would talk with lawmakers from other states and compare what ALEC model legislation worked for them, and then consider if it would work in Oregon. After WCopyFind found those similarities, we then read the legislation and the model bills to make sure those similarities were not insignificant. Also, much of the Oregon legislation that had origins in ALEC model bills used a title that was the same or similar to the title of those model bills.

Knowing which task force was associated with which piece of Oregon legislation was particularly important. ALEC corporate members belonged to specific task forces according to their own needs, for example; K12 Incorporated, which promotes online charter schools, belongs to ALEC’s Education task force. Once we knew which pieces of Oregon legislation was associated with which ALEC task force, we could then search the campaign finance section of the Oregon Secretary of State website and discover which of those ALEC member companies had either donated directly to Oregon legislators, or to PACs that in turn, donated to Oregon legislators.

We then created a working spreadsheet that pinpointed the ALEC model bills that became Oregon legislation and associated those bills with the legislators that supported them. After that, we were able to sort the spreadsheet by party, by district, by chamber, by bill, by year, by its related ALEC task force and by whether it passed or failed. We have made that spreadsheet interactive for users to sort it too.

Last update on January 16, 2015 reflects most recent changes.

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