Did Your Legislator Really Write That Bill?

Posted By: Micah Perkins Legislation,

a woman in a business suit reviews the documents a man in a business suit is presenting to her

Most citizens believe that their elected officials write legislation based on the needs in their communities. It may come as a surprise that a portion of legislation proposed in state government is not actually written by state legislators.   

Model legislation, also called “cut and paste legislation” or “fill in the blank legislation,” are templates of legislation given to legislators by special interest groups. Law makers simply “fill in the blanks” of these bills, inserting terms specific to their state. 

 Organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) develop model bills on various topics, including healthcare, education, and environmental regulation. These model bills serve as templates for lawmakers, offering ready-made solutions to complex problems and reducing the time and resources required to draft new legislation. 

Although claiming that it is “nonpartisan”, according to USA Today the conservative ALEC is a “model bill factory” holding annual meetings to discuss and strategize state and national policy. Approximately 25% of all state legislators are members of ALEC. ALEC claims that its members introduced more than 1,000 model bills each year with approximately 20% of them becoming law.  

Although ALEC is one of the most prolific, it is not the only organization providing “fill in the blank” legislation. Many organizations provide model legislation including the American Medical Association, the American Bar Association, and the libertarian Goldwater Institute.In their efforts to influence state government.  

 According to a 2022 investigation by KOCO of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma’s law banning transgender students from playing in the sport of their identified gender is nearly identical, word for word, to laws in 15 other states with a transgender sports bans. KOCO tracked the language to the organization Alliance Defending Freedom.  

It is important for us as Oklahoma mental health advocates to know about the existence of “cut and paste” legislation and how it can quickly change the political landscape of our state and our nation. 


Do you want to learn more about how upcoming legislation may impact Oklahoma mental healthcare providers? Check out our members-only town hall! We also have training for clinicians from Washington state to Washington D.C.! Learn more at www.counselinginstitute.org 

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