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Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He previously reported for Governing magazine in Washington, D.C., and the Las Vegas Sun. His work has been recognized with a 2013 American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best Feature Series and a 2010 Associated Press Society of Ohio award for Best Investigative Reporting. He can be reached at dylan@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Dylan

After the 2010 elections, the American Legislative Exchange Council was arguably at the height of its power. Though it had been around since the 1970s (President George W. Bush is pictured at ALEC's 2005 annual meeting above), Republican wins in statehouses across the nation that year gave the group an outsized influence in policymaking. Its model legislation covered everything from Stand Your Ground laws to new voter ID requirements and popped up everywhere.

But these few years of prominence seem to be catching up to ALEC as it has enthusiastically pursued its mission to, in the words of one liberal watchdog to the New York Times: "Bring together corporations and state legislators to draft profit-driven, anti-public-interest legislation."

Starting in 2012, less than two years after ALEC allies seized power in state legislatures, the group's corporate partners have undergone a mass exodus, at times for their own ideological reasons, other times under public pressure. And by some counts, more than two dozen companies have severed their ties.

That exodus has continued into this week, as Google chairman Eric Schmidt said Monday that his company would leave ALEC over climate change. Below is an exhaustive -- but likely not comprehensive -- list of the major businesses that have left the group and why.

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In what is likely a big win for Kansas Democrats, the Kansas Supreme Court declined Tuesday to hear the lawsuit being brought by a Democratic voter suing to force the state Democratic Party to name a new candidate in the Senate race. Instead, the state's high court referred the case to a lower court for a fuller hearing.

David Orel, a registered Democratic voter in Kansas City, Kan., who is refusing to speak to the press, filed the lawsuit after the state Supreme Court ruled that former Democratic nominee Chad Taylor should be taken off the ballot. In it, he argues that the Democratic Party is required by state law to replace Taylor.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has asserted the same position. But election law expert and University of California-Irvine law professor Rick Hasen said that the state supreme court's new order would likely help Democrats in their effort to leave the Democratic spot open and drive voters to independent candidate Greg Orman in his bid to unseat incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS).

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Whither the Obamacare truther?

Last week, top administration official Marilyn Tavenner announced that 7.3 million Obamacare enrollees had paid their premiums, as they must to receive and continue receiving their coverage. On its face, it was a relatively minor news event, a reminder that millions of people did sign up for insurance.

But it was also the end of one of the GOP's favorite anti-Obamacare memes. Those 7.3 million paying customers meant that more than 90 percent of the 8 million people who President Obama himself said had enrolled in coverage had paid for it. That might not seem surprising. But it was just a few months ago that Republicans were routinely questioning the official enrollment story being told by the White House, theorizing that a third or more of Obamacare sign-ups weren't paying their bills and that the successes being sold by the administration were a sham.

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Google plans to officially cut ties with the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, the company's chairman announced Monday, declaring that the group is "literally lying about climate change" and so Google can no longer be associated with it.

The Internet giant would be the second major technology to part ways with ALEC in the last two months. Microsoft announced in August that it would end its relationship with ALEC, and that decision was linked to Microsoft's support for renewable energy projects.

"The facts of climate change are not in question anymore. Everyone understands climate change is occurring, and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place," Google Chairman Eric Schmidt told NPR's Diane Rehm in explaining the decision. "And so we should not be aligned with such people -- they're just, they're just literally lying."

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who has a robust stumping schedule for Republican Senate candidates through the November midterms, told the Arizona Republic over the weekend that one incumbent Democratic senator he won't be campaigning against is Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO).

"Between now and the election, I've hardly got a day off," McCain told the newspaper. "I'll be campaigning all over Arizona and then all over the country as well. ... I'm not going to go to Colorado."

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When Hillary Clinton spoke about women's economic issues last week at the Center for American Progress in Washington, the attuned listener might have caught a few phrases that sounded familiar. Laments about the fiscal plight of waitresses, bartenders, and hair stylists. The need for Americans to not only be able to get to the middle class, but stay there.

That's because they had appeared during another Washington speech that Clinton gave, to the New America Foundation in May, a speech filled with new rhetoric that might not have been fully appreciated then for what it was: a first look at what her economic message in 2016 might be. People close to Clinton refuse to connect the themes of those two speeches to her nascent (and not yet official) 2016 presidential campaign. The official line is she remains undecided on whether to run at all. But those close to her told TPM these are issues she's worked on for a long time and would likely continue to focus on in the future.

In these two speeches are echoes of her failed run in 2008 and more distant echoes from her husband's campaigns in the '90s. But in the context of a 2016 bid, if you want a first peek at what her prospective presidential message would look like, then that is where you should start. They aren't fully formed policy prescriptions just yet. They are closer to rationales for her running again this time. But she is honing her rhetoric and a few themes are starting to crystallize that could become the basis for cohesive message that pulls together her personal biography, her political priorities, and specific policy proposals.

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NBC acknowledged Friday that NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was wrong when he said during Thursday's broadcast that charges for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had been "ruled out" by federal investigators looking into the BridgeGate scandal.

β€œAn unscripted line of our Nightly News report was imprecise and implied that a final decision had been reached,’’ NBC spokeswoman Erika Masonhall told the Asbury Park Press in a statement.

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In an apparent reversal, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's office is instructing election officials in the state to send out overseas military ballots without Democratic Senate nominee Chad Taylor or any other Democratic Senate candidate listed.

Kobach spokeswoman Samantha Poetter confirmed to TPM that the ballots would be sent out by Saturday, the deadline under state and federal law.

"Our ballots are going out without Chad Taylor (or any Democratic candidate) for U.S. Senate," Poetter said. "They've been ordered to send them out as soon as possible."

TPM obtained a copy of the official order sent to local election officials.

"The list does NOT contain the name of a Democratic nominee for United States Senate," the order said. "There are three candidates, Randall Batson, Libertarian, Greg Orman, independent, Pat Roberts, Republican."

"All (overseas military) ballots MUST go out by tomorrow to comply with the 45 day requirement under state and federal law," it said.

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UPDATE: 4:05 p.m. In an unexpected twist, Kobach's office is ordering election officials to send out overseas military ballots without a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. His office would not say, however, what would happen next if the state Democratic Party eventually nominated a new candidate, as Kobach has said they should.

More here.

After his Thursday defeat at the Kansas Supreme Court, Secretary of State Kris Kobach unveiled a new plan to make sure a Democratic candidate is on the ballot in the state's Senate race. He would push back the mailing date for ballots sent to overseas military members and argue under state law that Democrats must name somebody to replace withdrawn nominee Chad Taylor.

But to move the mailing date for overseas military ballots from Sept. 20 to Sept. 27, as Kobach said Thursday that he would, he would need federal approval. And as of Friday afternoon, federal officials told TPM, he hasn't sought it.

The federal MOVE Act requires state election officials to send ballots to overseas military voters 45 days before the election. That would be Sept. 20 this year. States are, however, allowed to request a waiver if an "undue hardship" resulting from a legal contest arises -- and election law experts say that this circumstance would likely qualify.

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The day after the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the Democratic Senate nominee should be removed from the November ballot, Rasmussen is out with a new poll showing independent candidate Greg Orman ahead of incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) by five points in a head-to-head race.

Orman leads Roberts among likely voters 45 percent to 40 percent without Democratic nominee Chad Taylor on the ballot, according to Rasmussen. The question of whether another Democrat will be on the ballot is still to be resolved, but the poll is further evidence that Orman fares much better if he doesn't have to contend with a Democratic candidate.

When Rasmussen gave respondents a choice among all three candidates, Taylor received 9 percent of the vote and Roberts held a slight edge over Orman, 39 percent to 38 percent.

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