04 July 2015

Legislative regular session rankings, 2015


And so the session is complete, save an unprecedented and miraculous veto override session being called. Thus, and appropriately on Independence Day, it’s time to compute the voting scorecard for the 2015 session. Twelve bills were selected and weighed for computation, all but two having been voted upon in both chambers. These were chosen mostly from the watch list compiled throughout the session, along with others of some importance. For a bill’s vote(s) to be selected, in one chamber there had to be more than one legislator not voting for the winning or losing side.

Being that passage of bills depends upon the seated membership of a body, not voting is counted as a negative vote. However, if a legislator had a leave of absence granted for that day, his absent votes weren’t counted for bills voted on that day and the score adjusted to take that into account.

Here are the bills with votes for final passage in every case on which the scorecard was computed, with the conservative/reform position and the weighing indicated:

SB 48 – would have locked in money that the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students would pay for tuition at this fiscal year’s level and then could be increased only by legislative approval; a conservative/reform vote is for (15 percent).

SB 218 – uses taxpayer dollars to entice athletic and entertainment events to happen in the state; a conservative/reform vote is against (5 percent).

SB 219 – (Senate only) would have instituted the concept of comparable worth into private sector salary decisions; a conservative/reform vote is against (10 percent).

HB 70 – (House only) would have doubled the earned income tax credit; a conservative/reform vote is against (10 percent).

HB 119 – increases taxation on cigarette consumption and dedicates the proceeds to pay for public expenses related to that behavior; a conservative/reform vote is for (5 percent).

HB 131 – prevents recalled officials from running in the election called as a consequence of their recall; a conservative/reform vote is for (5 percent).

HB 624 – reduces certain tax exceptions for corporations for three years; a conservative/reform vote is against (10 percent).

HB 629 – reduces income and franchise tax credits for corporations for three years; a conservative/reform vote is against (10 percent).

HB 749 – requires periodic review of tax credits for their effectiveness; a conservative/reform vote is for (5 percent).

HB 779 – tightens eligibility for the solar energy installation tax credit; a conservative/reform vote is for (10 percent).

HB 829 – tightens eligibility requirements for the motion picture investor tax credit and caps it for three years; a conservative/reform vote is for (15 percent).

HCR 75 – allows for Medicaid expansion by assessing a fee to many hospitals which may then pass that along to consumers; a conservative/reform vote is against (10 percent).

Despite the tax-raising frenzy that occurred, with the two biggest tax-raising votes included in the index, the aggregate score of 56.60 was hardly were different from last year, a little over two points away from the conservative/reform direction but above the 12-year lifetime average and the average for the second Gov. Bobby Jindal term. The partisan gap overall actually was almost 10 points below historical norms, at about 18 points, primarily because Democrats at 46.03 scored around seven points above their historical norms – but predictably, as in both Jindal terms Democrats voted significantly less liberal/populist the two years preceding an election than the first two years following elections. The chamber gap was, as last year, slightly more conservative/reform on the House side at 1.5 points, about half the lifetime gap.

In the House, Rep. Lenar Whitney did not let her failed Congressional campaign cramp her style; she repeated as most conservative/reform House member. Unsurprisingly, the top 38 scorers were Republicans (or five-eighths of the entire delegation), and eight of the nine lowest scorers were Democrats (Rep. Franklin Foil the GOP interloper), being many of the same names as in previous years with Rep. Marcus Hunter taking the honors as lowest. But one typical low scorer was absent and in stunning fashion: last year’s lowest scorer Rep. Pat Smith went from tied for 104th to tied for 23rd, amazingly the highest scoring Democrat and completely against historical type. Almost as amazing was Rep. A.B. Franklin, another historically low scorer, ended up on the conservative/reform side and was third-highest Democrat.

Whitney
95
Republican
Stokes
89
Republican
Johnson, M
85
Republican
Landry, N
85
Republican
Mack
80
Republican
Morris, Jim
80
Republican
Burns, H
75
Republican
Burns, T
75
Republican
Connick
75
Republican
Garafalo
75
Republican
Geymann
75
Republican
Hensgens
75
Republican
Hodges
75
Republican
Hollis
75
Republican
Burford
70
Republican
Cromer
70
Republican
Kleckley
70
Republican
Lambert
70
Republican
Lorusso
70
Republican
Pugh
70
Republican
Seabaugh
70
Republican
Simon
70
Republican
Talbot
70
Republican
Adams
65
Republican
Barras
65
Republican
Berthelot
65
Republican
Bishop, S
65
Republican
Carter
65
Republican
Chaney
65
Republican
Havard
65
Republican
Hoffman
65
Republican
Howard
65
Republican
Ivey
65
Republican
Leopold
65
Republican
Miguez
65
Republican
Pope
65
Republican
Schexnayder
65
Republican
Shadoin
65
Republican
Smith
65
Democrat
Williams, P.
63
Democrat
Broadwater
60
Republican
Carmody
60
Republican
Fannin
60
Republican
Franklin
60
Democrat
Harris
60
Republican
Huval
60
Republican
Miller
60
Republican
Pearson
60
Republican
Ponti
60
Republican
Pylant
60
Republican
Thibaut
60
Democrat
Wilmott
60
Republican
Guillory, M
58
Democrat
Bishop, W
55
Democrat
Bouie
55
Democrat
Cox
55
Democrat
Hall
55
Democrat
Harrison
55
Republican
Honore
55
Democrat
James
55
Democrat
Jefferson
55
Democrat
Landry, T
55
Democrat
Ourso
55
Republican
Price
55
Democrat
Ritchie
55
Democrat
St. Germain
55
Democrat
Thierry
55
Democrat
Armes
50
Democrat
Brown, Terry
50
Independent
Burrell
50
Democrat
Guinn
50
Republican
Hazel
50
Republican
Jackson, K
50
Democrat
Morris, Jay
50
Republican
Pierre
50
Democrat
Schroder
50
Republican
Woodruff
50
Democrat
Badon
45
Democrat
Danahay
45
Democrat
Hill
45
Democrat
Jones
45
Democrat
Montoucet
45
Democrat
Anders
40
Democrat
Barrow
40
Democrat
Billiot
40
Democrat
Dove
40
Republican
Edwards
40
Democrat
Gaines
40
Democrat
Gisclair
40
Democrat
Henry
40
Republican
Lopinto
40
Republican
Moreno
40
Democrat
Ortego
40
Democrat
Richard
40
Independent
Robideaux
40
Republican
Williams, A.
40
Democrat
Abramson
35
Democrat
Arnold
35
Democrat
Foil
35
Republican
Johnson, R
35
Democrat
LeBas
35
Democrat
Leger
35
Democrat
Norton
35
Democrat
Reynolds
35
Democrat
Hunter
25
Democrat

In the Senate, 16 of the top 17 scorers were Republicans (three-fifths of their delegation) with just Sen. Gary Smith slotting in among them for Democrats. At the top, the only “perfect” conservative/reformist legislator this year was Sen. Dale Erdey, whose record has been trending more in this direction since the index began tracking in 2004. Sen. Norby Chabert was the other end for the GOP, with seven Democrats scoring lower than him. The consistently low-scoring Sen. Edwin Murray tied with consistently almost-as-low-scoring state Sen. Ben Nevers for the most liberal/populist senator.

Erdey
100
Republican
Donahue
80
Republican
White
80
Republican
Appel
75
Republican
Allain
70
Republican
Long
70
Republican
Peacock
70
Republican
Smith, G
70
Democrat
Alario
65
Republican
Martiny
65
Republican
Morrish
65
Republican
Walsworth
65
Republican
Cortez
60
Republican
Kostelka
60
Republican
Perry
60
Republican
Riser
60
Republican
Ward
60
Republican
Thompson
58
Democrat
Adley
55
Republican
Brown, Troy
55
Democrat
Claitor
55
Republican
Crowe
55
Republican
Johns
55
Republican
Smith, J
55
Republican
Tarver
55
Democrat
Buffington
53
Republican
Guillory, E
50
Republican
Heitmeier
50
Democrat
Amedee
45
Republican
Mills
45
Republican
LaFleur
44
Democrat
Chabert
40
Republican
Morrell
40
Democrat
Broome
35
Democrat
Dorsey-Colomb
35
Democrat
Gallot
30
Democrat
Peterson
30
Democrat
Murray
25
Democrat
Nevers
25
Democrat

Finally, on the basis of his signing or vetoing nine of these bills (two did not make it out of their respective chambers and one was a resolution) Jindal by far scored the lowest of his eight years in office, at 50, some 30 points below his average.

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