[Publisher's Note - There are a lot of legislative scorecards out there. Some are great on business issues. Others are good on social issues. Some are awesome on property rights. Others still on gun ownership rights. But hands-down the best legislative scorecard from the conservative side of the aisle, that rates the legislature from a broad perspective, is the annual scorecard of the California Republican Assembly. The new CRA scorecard has been released. Below is an introduction to it, followed by a link to see it online. I was particularly pleased that CRA rated AB26x -- which should have passed the legislature by unanimous vote, which would have abolished Californian's Soviet-style redevelopment agencies. How did your legislator score? Read on... - Jon Fleischman, FR Publisher and CRA Past President]
INTRODUCTION TO THE 2011 CRA LEGISLATIVE SCORECARD
For the second consecutive year, the number of Legislators receiving perfect ratings on the California Republican Assembly’s annual Legislative Scorecard has declined. Only two legislators received perfect 100% scores this year. That’s down from five in 2010 and thirteen in 2009.
Overall fourteen legislators – twelve in the Assembly and two in the Senate – received “A” grades by scoring above 90%.
“We’d like to congratulate the members of the Legislature who received ‘A’ ratings,” said CRA President Celeste Greig. “They continue to demonstrate their commitment to Republican principles even when they have lost ground in the Legislature and been attacked like never before. They should be thanked.”
President Greig announced that the following legislators received “A” ratings: Assemblymembers Beth Gaines, Diane Harkey, Jim Nielsen, Steve Knight, Don Wagner, Tim Donnelly, Shannon Grove, Dan Logue, Mike Morrell, Linda Halderman, and Allan Mansoor; Senators Ted Gaines and Joel Anderson. She also noted that Assemblymembers Halderman and Mansoor were the only two to receive perfect scores.
CRA’s scorecard is derived from votes cast on diverse bills ranging from increasing the gas tax to requiring registration and tracking of rifles and shotguns. A complete listing of bills is presented with the scorecard on the CRA website (link below).
CRA Parliamentarian Tom Hudson, who compiled the scorecard, noted that there were elements that made this year’s scorecard challenging.
“One of the bills in the Scorecard was especially problematic,” noted Hudson. “AB 26x was designed to eliminate most redevelopment agencies, but it did not go far enough, and Republicans were largely left outside the bargaining room. Despite its flaws, it was still the best opportunity to strike a blow against ‘crony capitalism’ and Soviet-style central planning in the last generation.”
He pointed out that most of the Republicans “blew it,” mainly for all the wrong reasons. Despite the fact that the Republican Caucus primarily voted the wrong way, this bill was highlighted because it gives a chance to highlight something that conservative Republicans support (cutting Big Government), while also showing the contrast in the Democrat and Republican Caucuses.
The scorecard also focuses on other bills which may not seem important on the surface, but clearly demonstrate the divisions within the Democrat and Republican caucuses.
While the total number of 100% scores declined, the total number of zeros decreased dramatically from fifty-five in 2010 to only four this year.
“It’s clear that Democrats are feeling pressure and are attempting to move to the middle,” added Greig. “This may be Governor Brown’s influence, or simply a reaction to their extremely low approval ratings.”
The highest scoring Democrat on the CRA scorecard was again Senator Lou Correa who received a 63%. On the Assembly side, Assemblywoman Alyson Huber was once again the highest scoring Democrat with a 44%.
“The difference this year between the highest scoring Democrats and the lowest ranking Republicans is much closer this year,” said Greig.
Once again, Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher had the lowest score of any Republican legislator, with a score of 56%. Senators Sam Blakeslee, Anthony Cannella, and Bill Emmerson were tied for last place in the Senate, at 67%.
The Assembly overall voted far more liberal than the Senate. The Average score for the Assembly was 9% for Democrats and 83% for Republicans, while in the Senate it was 14% for Democrats and 81% for Republicans.