At the end of every school year, Nebraska’s kids take home a report card detailing how this school year went for them – where they excelled, where they struggled, and where they had room for improvement.
We thought it was only fair that Nebraska’s State Senators take home a report card, too!
Over the course of the 103rd Legislature (2013-2014), our legislators have made lots of choices on issues that impact the well-being of our children and families. We’ve assigned Senators grades on children’s issues using a complete accounting of how they voted on key bills and a few critical amendments that were priorities of Voices for Children.
So did Senators make the grade when it came to kids and families?
On the whole, Nebraska legislators did quite well. 25 received an “A” grade and 9 others got a “B.” The average grade was a 90% and the median score was 85%. Compared to our report card on the 102nd Legislature, where mean and average grades were both solid Cs, that is a significant improvement.
That’s not to say that there wasn’t plenty of room for improvement for some Senators, though. Grades went as low as 38%. You can see a full list of Senators and make sure that yours made the grade below:
We calculated Senators’ grades based on their final votes on 14 Voices for Children priority bills that made it to a final vote. We also included how Senators voted on two controversial and important amendments that had (or would have had) a significant impact on the underlying bill. One proposed amendment would have eliminated an increase in home visiting funding from the budget and the other added provisions to increase eligibility for child care subsidies. Along with the minimum wage, these two amendments, had the most Senators cast votes that differed from Voices’ position.
Grades were calculated as follows:
- All votes consistent with Voices for Children’s position on the bill or amendment earn 1 point. For example, a “Yes” vote on a bill Voices supported, like increasing the minimum wage, earns 1 point. A “No” vote on a bill or amendment Voices opposed, like the cut to home visiting funding, also earns 1 point.
- For all votes against our position, we deducted 1 point.
- Senators who were present but not voting did not earn points, but didn’t lose them either.
- 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.
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!