Legislative Scorecard 2012

 

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.

Scorecard 102nd Legislature

 

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!

About Jill Westfall

Jill is Communications and Operations Coordinator at Voices for Children in Nebraska.

5 Responses to “Legislative Scorecard 2012”

  1. Mary Thunker May 15, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Thank you for putting this together! I agree with the majority of the grades given, just a couple that I personally think should be a little different. I would love to know what all was considered when you calculated this. Great job once again Voices for Children for informing Nebraskan’s on how their senators performed when it comes to children!

    • Jill Westfall May 15, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

      We used all of our priority bills that made it to final reading. So if we had been working on a bill all session – from testifying at the committee hearing, all the way through final reading – it made it on the list. From there it was a matter of looking up their voting record in the journal. Some of the grades surprised us too. We didn’t weight any of the votes or inflate (or deflate) anyone’s grade and the numbers don’t lie.

  2. Mary Thunker May 15, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    They sure don’t!!! Good to be able to see the whole picture!!

  3. Keith Allen May 17, 2012 at 8:07 pm #

    I noticed that Rich Pahls, who used to be all about kids when he was an elementary school teacher, is not so much about kids anymore. Even he must consider a F to be pretty disappointing. My own senator, pete Pirsch, will be hearing form me about his pathetic D grade.

    Kudos to our A+ sentors listed above and to other grade A senators Harr, Howard, Mello and Nordquist.

    This score card is really a terrific tool for child advocates!

  4. Eric Nelson May 24, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    I love the report card, and am pleased that my Senator (Ashford) rated a B. We have had great discussions about kids and schools!!!!!

    I really hope it makes everyone think twice come election time!!

    Excellent job Jill!

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