More than 20 percent of laws introduced at the state level across the country are based on “copycat” or model legislation written by special interest groups. Examples of copycat legislation includes Michigan’s Asbestos Transparency Act, which actually shields some asbestos manufacturers from potential liability. The finding was part of a two-year investigation by USA TODAY, the Center for Public Integrity and the Arizona Republic that analyzed eight years of state legislation across the country, with 2,100 of 10,000 laws having nearly identical language that was written by special interests groups. Of the 50 legislators interviewed, half said they had sponsored copycat legislation, with 20 admitting they didn’t even know the source of the bill. Five insisted the bill was their own work. Michigan Republican Senator Joe Haveman of Holland, who sponsored the copycat asbestos legislation, told USA TODAY he worked with a Lansing lobbyist firm to craft the bill, even though it was nearly identical to bills in other states intended to shield Crown Cork & Seal from asbestos liability, a company not even based in Michigan.


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