Politics & Government

NC House member is next chairman of national conservative group ALEC

Rep. Jason Saine
Rep. Jason Saine N.C. General Assembly

State Rep. Jason Saine, a Republican from Lincolnton, will be the next chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council.

ALEC is a conservative group backed by corporations that proposes model legislation for state legislators to introduce.

Saine will serve a one-year term beginning January 1, an ALEC spokesman said in an email.

Saine is the senior chairman of the House Finance Committee. He has served in the House since 2011, when he was appointed to complete the term of a legislator who had resigned.

North Carolina legislators have played prominent roles in ALEC for years. U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis was on the national board when he was House speaker. Former House Speaker Harold Brubaker was ALEC national chairman in 1994, according to the organization’s website.

“The ALEC Chairman is a member of the ALEC Board of Directors who has been selected to serve as a member of the executive committee,” wrote Bill Meierling, ALEC’s chief marketing officer. “After serving as a member of the executive committee (s)he is elevated to the position of Chairman. ... ALEC members are appointed to the Board of Directors as a result of their leadership within ALEC or on limited government, free market and federalism focused policy. Many Board members previously served as ALEC state chairs (as is the case with Representative Saine) or as a task force chair.”

Saine’s office did not respond to messages seeking comment.

In 2012, after George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Florida, companies were pressured to leave ALEC over controversial Stand Your Ground gun laws, which the organization helped push. ALEC announced that year it would stop pushing laws on social policy and stick to business and economics.

Saine spoke at ALEC’s States & Nation Policy Summit last week in Nashville, Tenn. He hailed the coming 45th anniversary of ALEC, and encouraged attendance at the anniversary celebration next year at the Trump International Hotel. The event is aimed at raising millions for the ALEC endowment, he said.

The 45th anniversary “is an incredible validation that an idea exchange works,” Saine said.

Lynn Bonner: 919-829-4821, @Lynn_Bonner