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Backers Abandon ‘Stand Your Ground’ Platform

(CN) - Facing nationwide protests and an exodus of corporate backers, an archconservative lobbying group that backed "Stand Your Ground" and voter-identification laws abandoned its so-called task forces responsible for drafting certain bills.

The American Legislative Exchange Council announced the policy shift Tuesday in a statement through Indiana legislator David Frizzell, a Republican.

"We are eliminating the ALEC Public Safety and Elections task force that dealt with non-economic issues, and reinvesting these resources in the task forces that focus on the economy," Frizzell said. "The remaining budgetary and economic issues will be reassigned."

While Frizzell framed his remarks as a shift in focus, ALEC recently lost many corporate supporters after the alleged murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., sparked nationwide protests.

Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, remained a free man for 45 days, allegedly flanked by ALEC-backed Stand Your Ground laws that safeguard those who claim self-defense.

Detractors dub the Florida law, and similar ones across the country, "kill-at-will" legislation.

While Zimmerman was still at large, activist groups such as pressured 12 of ALEC's corporate backers, including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Kraft Foods, to drop their memberships.

Zimmerman was ultimately arrested on charges for second-degree murder. It is uncertain how or if Stand Your Ground will figure in his upcoming trial.

Frizzell indicated that ALEC would now focus on "free-market, limited government and pro-growth" initiatives, possibly referring to the company's efforts to privatize schools, prohibit union security agreements and reform tort law.

The Center for Media and Democracy, an investigative nonprofit group, has described ALEC as a "corporate bill mill" that lobbies to enact the "wish list" of powerful business interests.

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