15 July 2005

Legislative regular session wrapup and legislator scores

As indicated previously, of the good and bad bills selected for observation in the 2005 Regular Legislative Session of the Louisiana Legislature, 20 made it all the way to the governor who signed them all except HB 415 (see below). By category, and with a brief description, they are:

HB 242 – places small but additional restrictions on abortion
HB 311 – makes for a thriftier state employee retirement system
HB 386 – lops off unneeded government agencies
HB 415 – rids the state of a costly, low-turnout January local election date
HB 654 – provides funds for I-49
SB 44 – places tighter controls on vehicle purchases by state officials
SB 53 – attempts to allow Louisiana federal elections to occur with the rest of the nation’s
SB 146 – slightly limits students’ access to junk foods at school
SB 323 – reforms indigent defense in the state

HB 21 – allows payment to members of the Allen Parish Tourism Commission
HB 219 – allows an additional surcharge on motor vehicle offices transactions
HB 560 – reduces the amount of information provided by the governor on her budget
HB 631 – corporate welfare for the sound recording industry
HB 731 – corporate welfare for the motion picture industry
HB 763 – places a floor on gasoline retail prices
HB 887 – sick tax of 1.5% on hospital revenues
SB 47 – empowers the Morehouse Parish Lake Commission to gather money to build another useless lake
SB 190 – makes into law state the standard that poor people get free medical care, everybody else has to spend almost everything they have first into order to get it
SB 246 – corporate welfare for the rubber manufacturing industry
SB 341 – corporate welfare for the interactive digital media industry

In addition, there is one other vote of overriding importance. That was Republican-sponsored amendments to provide pay raises for educators without raising taxes. This was not one of the bills tracked in the Log since HB 1 is impossible to evaluate as a whole and passes usually close to unanimously. The devil is in the details for sure here, and these amendments in each chamber really spell out the priorities of legislators.

Altogether, this provides 21 votes on which to assess the performance of each legislator. However, some are more important than others, so, in my own judgment, I have devised a weighing where the educator pay vote is worth 6, four next most important votes are worth 4, the four next most important 3, the four next most important 2, and the eight least important worth one. Here’s is the way I judge the importance of these votes:

6X – vote #145 on Tucker amendment or vote #968 on Schedler amendment
4X – HB 887, HB 242, HB 311, HB 763
3X – SB 654, HB 386, SB 44, HB 219
2X – SB 323, SB 47, HB 560, HB 415
1X – HB 631, HB 731, SB 246, SB 53, SB 146, SB 190, SB 341, HB 21

So from this, an index may be constructed for each legislator where a maximum score of 100 means a legislator has voted in the best interests of the state’s people on every key vote while a 0 means voting against the state’s people’s best interests on every occasion. Absent votes for bills are counted as “no” votes (because an absence is treated as a “no” vote), so they have a negative impact on votes for good bills but a positive impact for votes on bad bills. Scores are computed from the last vote for final passage in the chamber.

Some interesting things to note on this list reproduced below:
  • I am a stern taskmasker, so the top scorers in each chamber, Rep. Ernie Alexander and Sen. Max Malone, are not close to scoring perfectly
  • Partisans tend to vote alike, particularly in the Senate. The typical House Republican averages 64.4 while the typical House Democrat averages 43.3; the typical Senate Republican averages 59.9 while the typical Senate Democrat averages 40.4
  • Thus, the typical senator (47.6) is more liberal than the typical representative (51.6), while the typical Republican scores about a 63 and the typical Democrat about a 42.
  • In the House, only four Republicans fell below the score of 50 while just one did so in the Senate. The two real outliers, Rep. Tom McVea and Sen. Sherri Cheek, are so out of step with their Republican counterparts that it begs the question whether they really are Republicans
  • In the House, of the 18 presumed “conservative” Democrats (defined as those who scored 50 or better), only six are not term-limited for 2007, while two of the four presumed “liberal” Republicans (defined as those who scored below 50) are – assuming that incumbency has helped keep these people in office and that voters will seek replacements that are more ideologically consistent with their labels, the GOP can expect a 10-seat pickup in the House in 2007
  • Using the same logic in the Senate, there is no change as the three “misplaced” senators will still be eligible to run in 2007

    Finally, the list (excuse the formatting which is difficult to transfer to the blog format; the first set are House members, the second set the senators):

    Name Party Score
    Alexander Republican 80
    Scalise Republican 76
    Erdey Republican 74
    Pitre Republican 74
    White Republican 74
    Bowler Republican 72
    Katz Republican 72
    Strain Republican 72
    Waddell Republican 72
    Winston Republican 72
    Burns Republican 70
    Greene Republican 70
    Powell, M Republican 70
    Trahan Republican 70
    Walsworth Republican 70
    Crowe Republican 68
    Dove Republican 68
    Geymann Republican 68
    LaBruzzo Republican 68
    Kleckley Republican 66
    Lambert Republican 66
    Smith, JH Republican 66
    Baudoin Democrat 64
    Bruneau Republican 64
    Schneider Republican 64
    Smiley Republican 64
    Tucker Republican 64
    Hebert Democrat 62
    Daniel Democrat 60
    Fannin Democrat 60
    Frith Democrat 60
    Martiny Republican 60
    Beard Republican 58
    Downs Republican 58
    Faucheux Democrat 58
    Smith, G Democrat 58
    Wright Democrat 58
    Kennard Republican 56
    Lancaster Republican 56
    Morrish Democrat 56
    Robideaux Independent 56
    Walker Democrat 56
    Durand Democrat 54
    Hopkins Democrat 54
    LaFleur Democrat 54
    Bruce Democrat 52
    Powell, T Republican 52
    Ansardi Democrat 50
    Curtis Democrat 50
    Johns Republican 50
    St. Germain Democrat 50
    Triche Democrat 50
    Hutter Republican 48
    Salter Democrat 48
    Thompson Democrat 48
    Toomy Republican 48
    Baldone Democrat 46
    Carter, R Democrat 46
    Crane Republican 46
    Cravins,Jr. Democrat 46
    Damico Democrat 46
    Dartez Democrat 46
    Hunter Democrat 46
    Kenney Democrat 46
    Pierre Democrat 46
    Ritchie Democrat 46
    Romero, R Democrat 46
    Smith. JD Democrat 46
    Cazayoux Democrat 44
    Farrar Democrat 44
    Glover Democrat 44
    McDonald Democrat 44
    Smith, JR Democrat 44
    Burrell Democrat 42
    Guillory, E Democrat 42
    Morrell Democrat 42
    Barrow Democrat 40
    Baylor Democrat 40
    Jackson, M Democrat 40
    Jefferson Democrat 40
    Townsend Democrat 40
    Badon Democrat 38
    Dorsey Democrat 38
    Gray Democrat 38
    Hammett Democrat 38
    Heaton Democrat 38
    Honey Democrat 38
    McVea Republican 38
    Quezaire Democrat 38
    Wooton Democrat 38
    Alario Democrat 36
    Carter, K Democrat 36
    Guillory, M Democrat 36
    LaFonta Democrat 36
    Marchand Democrat 36
    Odinet Democrat 36
    Hill Democrat 34
    DeWitt Democrat 32
    Doerge Democrat 32
    Gallot Democrat 32
    Montgomery Democrat 32
    Pinac Democrat 32
    Richmond Democrat 32
    Arnold Democrat 30

    Malone Republican 76
    Romero, C Republican 74
    Dardenne Republican 72
    Boasso Republican 66
    Barham Republican 64
    Schedler Republican 64
    Michot Republican 60
    Cain Republican 58
    Marionneaux Democrat 58
    Theunissen Republican 58
    Lentini Republican 56
    Amedee Democrat 54
    Fontenot Republican 52
    Hollis Republican 50
    Kostelka Republican 50
    Adley Democrat 48
    Chaisson Democrat 46
    Gautreaux,N Democrat 44
    Duplessis Democrat 42
    Dupre Democrat 42
    Heitmeier Democrat 42
    Murray Democrat 42
    Smith, M Democrat 42
    Ullo Democrat 42
    Cravins,Sr. Democrat 40
    Gautreaux,B Democrat 40
    Nevers Democrat 40
    Bajoie Democrat 38
    Cheek Republican 38
    Ellington Democrat 38
    McPherson Democrat 38
    Jackson, L Democrat 36
    Broome Democrat 34
    Fields Democrat 34
    Hines Democrat 34
    Jones Democrat 34
    Mount Democrat 34
    Shepherd Democrat 28
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