Our state senators make a lot of choices over the course of the legislative session, and the 102nd Legislative Session (2011-2012) was no exception. During the two year session, 15 of Voices for Children’s priority bills made it to a final vote. Today we present our first ever legislative scorecard – a complete accounting of how senators voted during the 102nd Legislature.
The votes included below are the final vote on the bill. For most of the bills, this was the vote taken on final reading. For two of the bills, LB 599 (prenatal care) and LB 1020 (school-based health centers), we used the veto override vote instead of final reading. All votes consistent with Voices for Children’s position on the bill earn 1 point, votes against our position and unexcused “not voting” votes earn zero points. For example, a “Yes” vote on a bill Voices supported, like prenatal care, earns 1 point. A “No” vote on a bill Voices opposed, like the tax cut bill, also earns 1 point.
Total points are then divided by the number of total possible votes taken. The total possible number of votes do not include “not voting (excused)” and “N/A” votes. For example, Senator Seiler was appointed in 2012, so he was not a member of the Legislature for the four bills listed from 2011 (these are indicated as “N/A”) and he was excused for three votes, so his total number of possible votes is 8 (15 bills – 4 N/A – 3 excused = 8).
Which all leads us to the question, in this “Session of Children,” who was truly for kids and who was just kidding?
Senators did fairly well. The average score was a 75.95% and the median score was a 75%, so overall, a solid “C.”
Most of the A and B students fell short of perfect scores because of their votes in favor of LB 970 (tax cuts) and/or LB 84 (roads funding), bills that Voices for Children opposed. Both are issues that fall slightly outside of our traditional work as child advocates, but we feel they are important to include in the scorecard because of their long-term impacts on the state budget.
We have six “star students” who earned perfect A+ scores. These include Senators Danielle Conrad, Tanya Cook, Brenda Council, Annette Dubas, Amanda McGill, and Norm Wallman.
Do any of these surprise you? Did anyone do better (or worse) than you thought they would? Want to know more about our calculations? Leave a note in the comments below and let us know!