20 July 2019

Legislative regular session scores, 2019

After two weeks’ delay, here comes the 2019 Regular Session on the Louisiana Legislature voting scorecard. With all business disposed of, legislators and the governor received grades (barring a miraculous veto override session). Twelve bills were selected and weighed for computation, all but two having been voted upon in both chambers. These were chosen mainly from the watch list compiled throughout the session. 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:


HB 358 – expands use of therapeutic marijuana but also increases chances of abuse; a vote against connotes a conservative/reform preference (10 percent)

HB 425 – would amend the Constitution to ensure the right to an abortion or funding it doesn’t exist; a vote for connotes a conservative/reform preference (5 percent)

HB 484 – strengthens requirements of facilities that perform abortions; a vote for connotes a conservative/reform preference (5 percent)

HB 503 – would have made it easier for ex-convicts to obtain occupational licenses; a vote for connotes a conservative/reform preference (10 percent)

SB 27 – sets in motion unneeded increases in judicial salaries; a vote against connotes a conservative/reform preference (10 percent)

SB 173 – sets up a framework to regulate health care coverage if federal standards are declared unconstitutional; a vote for connotes a conservative/reform preference (15 percent)

SB 184 – prohibits abortion if a fetal heartbeat can be detected if federal jurisprudence permits; a vote for connotes a conservative/reform preference (5 percent)

SB 221 – increase information available to women contemplating abortion; a vote for connotes a conservative/reform preference (5 percent)

SB 229 – would facilitate the fiscal transition if the city of St. George is created; a vote for connotes a conservative/reform preference (10 percent)

The following had only House votes:

HB 599 – would have eliminated the remainder of the 2016 sales tax increase; a vote for connotes a conservative/reform preference (20 percent)

The following only had Senate votes:

SB 112 – would have abolished the death penalty; a vote against connotes a conservative/reform preference (20 percent)

This year posed real difficulty in finding meaningful recorded votes. With the Senate’s assistance, Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards managed to avoid having the chamber send him controversial House-passed bills that he opposed. Thus, a quarter of the weighing ended up on abortion-related votes and most issues didn’t generate much voting controversy.

Another excellent example demonstrating how the scorecard gives a comprehensive, but not complete, picture of a policy-maker’s voting given its dependency on measures that actually come to a vote comes with Democrat state Sen. John Milkovich. He scored the most conservative – perfectly, in fact – in the Senate. Yet his past history shows a fairly liberal voting record when it comes to taxing and spending, but with the Senate’s scorecard comprised mostly of social issues where he has voted consistently in a conservative/reform direction, no such votes were captured because of the same dynamic that limited Edwards’ exposure as overall liberal.

Still, voting records created some meaningful distinctions, as indicated below:

Horton
100
Republican
McFarland
95
Republican
Miguez
95
Republican
Amedee
90
Republican
Bacala
90
Republican
DeVillier
90
Republican
Edmonds
90
Republican
Emerson
90
Republican
Falconer
90
Republican
Hoffman
90
Republican
Hollis
90
Republican
Landry, N
90
Republican
Magee
90
Republican
Morris, Jay
90
Republican
Morris, Jim
90
Independent
Pearson
90
Republican
Pylant
90
Republican
Stefanski
90
Republican
Borriaque
88
Republican
Garafalo
85
Republican
Abraham
80
Republican
Adams
80
Republican
Bagley
80
Republican
Barras
80
Republican
Berthelot
80
Republican
Billiot
80
Democrat
Bishop, S
80
Republican
Brown, T
80
Independent
Carmody
80
Republican
Carter, S
80
Republican
Coussan
80
Republican
Crews
80
Republican
Dwight
80
Republican
Foil
80
Republican
Harris, L
80
Republican
Hilferty
80
Republican
Hill
80
Democrat
Hodges
80
Republican
Huval
80
Republican
Johnson, M
80
Republican
Mack
80
Republican
Miller, G
80
Republican
Moss
80
Republican
Muscarello
80
Republican
Pope
80
Republican
Schexnayder
80
Republican
Stagni
80
Republican
Talbot
80
Republican
Turner
80
Republican
Wright
80
Republican
Zeringue
80
Republican
Marino
78
Independent
Henry
75
Republican
McMahen
75
Republican
Stokes
75
Republican
Thomas
75
Republican
Armes
70
Democrat
Chaney
70
Republican
Davis
70
Republican
Guinn
70
Republican
Johnson, R
70
Democrat
LeBas
70
Democrat
Moore
70
Democrat
Pugh
70
Republican
Seabaugh
70
Republican
Connick
68
Republican
Anders
65
Democrat
Howard
65
Republican
Ivey
65
Republican
Jones
65
Democrat
White, M
65
Democrat
Richard
63
Independent
Simon
61
Republican
DuBuisson
60
Republican
Jackson
60
Democrat
Abramson
55
Democrat
Cox
55
Democrat
Leger
55
Democrat
Leopold
55
Republican
Brown, C
50
Democrat
Gisclair
50
Democrat
Jordan
45
Democrat
Lavardain
45
Democrat
LaCombe
45
Democrat
Gaines
40
Democrat
Miller, D
40
Democrat
Carter, G
35
Democrat
Franklin
35
Democrat
Jefferson
35
Democrat
Jenkins
35
Democrat
Landry, T
35
Democrat
Lyons
35
Democrat
Pierre
35
Democrat
Brass
30
Democrat
Bagneris
25
Democrat
Carter, R
25
Democrat
Glover
25
Democrat
Norton
25
Democrat
Carpenter
20
Democrat
Harris, J
20
Democrat
Bouie
15
Democrat
Duplessis
10
Democrat
James
10
Democrat
Marcelle
10
Democrat
Smith
10
Democrat

The top 50 most conservative House members had 46 Republicans among them and two independents (one a former GOP member). The lowest Republican scored 55, giving the House caucus and average of 80.44, slightly higher than last year’s all-time high. Democrats held down the lowest 26 scores, averaging 42.18, somewhat higher than last year. Together, these increases caused the chamber as a whole to register its highest score ever of 66.12, well above the lifetime 54.51 and giving its term a score of 59.14. The partisan gap for the term was about 35.

Milkovich
100
Democrat
Appel
90
Republican
Fannin
90
Republican
Long
90
Republican
Thompson
90
Democrat
White, B
90
Republican
Allain
80
Republican
Chabert
80
Republican
Lambert
80
Republican
Walsworth
80
Republican
Martiny
75
Republican
Mizell
74
Republican
Alario
70
Republican
Donahue
70
Republican
Erdey
70
Republican
Hensgens
70
Republican
Hewitt
70
Republican
Johns
70
Republican
Peacock
70
Republican
Riser
70
Republican
Tarver
70
Democrat
Smith, G
65
Democrat
Smith, J
61
Republican
Claitor
60
Republican
Gatti
60
Republican
Ward
55
Republican
Barrow
50
Democrat
Cortez
50
Republican
Morrish
50
Republican
Boudreaux
40
Democrat
Mills
40
Republican
Price
40
Democrat
Peterson
35
Democrat
Colomb
25
Democrat
Luneau
25
Democrat
Bishop, W
20
Democrat
LaFleur
20
Democrat
Carter, T
17
Democrat
Morrell
15
Democrat

In the Senate, only six Republicans scored below 70 while just three Democrats scored that or better. Another way of viewing that is only four Democrats went higher than 50 while just a single Republican, state Sen. Fred Mills, came in below 50. Senate Republicans as a whole registered a 70.59, a bit lower than last year’s historic high to give them a four-year mean of about 63. Democrats (with a few whites seeking reelection or wanting to move on to another office) posted their highest number of the term, 43.69 to finish it as a whole at 38.21, creating a partisan gap for the term of nearly 25.

The essentially insignificant chamber gap of last year broadened to the House being over 5 points higher, leaving a chamber gap for the term in that vicinity. Finally, Edwards scored his highest since his first year, at 57. This gave him a barely left-of-center score for the term of 49.25.

That closes the 2019 edition of the Louisiana Legislature Log. See you next time.

No comments: