06 July 2009

Legislative regular session wrap-up and rankings: House, 2009

This week will be presented the scorecard for House members for the 2009 regular session. Representatives will be graded on their votes on a bill which passed both chambers, one that passed the Senate but not the House, two which passed both chambers in different forms, and three which failed to pass the House only which are similar bills to those that failed to pass the Senate only. The highest score of 100 represents a perfect conservative/reform voting record, while the lowest score of 0 represents a perfect liberal/populist voting record. The seven bills and their weighings are:

HB 591 (10 percent) – would relax lobbyist rules to allow groups of at least 10 legislators to get more food and drink paid for at certain events; a conservative/reform vote is against.

HB 689 (25 percent) – would reverse tax deductions that began in 2009; a conservative/reform vote is against.

HB 340 (10 percent) – would strengthen religious freedoms in the state Constitution; a conservative/reform vote is for.

SB 183 (5 percent) – would allow universities to raise tuition and fees without requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature; a conservative/reform vote is for.

HB 889 (25 percent) – would raise taxes on tobacco; a conservative/reform vote is against.

HB 705 (15 percent) – would introduce by the law the comparable worth concept into how many private businesses in the state would have to base salaries; a conservative/reform vote is against.

HB 844 (10 percent) – would have banned smoking in almost all commercial establishments that serve food; a conservative/reform vote is for.

(Since an absence is counted as a “no” vote, that also is reflected in these ranking unless the legislator asked for leave on the day of the vote. In that case, the vote if the overall vote was a defeat is removed from the ranking and the score adjusted to reflect only those votes that occurred when the legislator was not on leave. Votes on amendments, which have different passage rules, that are part of the rankings are adjusted for absences regardless of whether leave was taken.)

The results were interesting for several reasons. First, unlike in past years the eligible range of bills was fairly narrow, due to a high incidence of legislation passing at least one house unanimously. Second, a huge gap opened between Republicans and Democrats, with the former averaging close to 80 and the latter just over 35 (even though three scored a remarkable 90, the highest ever for any Democrat), representing a huge ideological split in the body (the three independents, two of whom lean to the Republicans and one to the Democrats, averaged 56 2/3’s.) Third, while in past years rarely did any Republican score a 100 and no Democrat ever took home a 0, this time 3 from the GOP bagged perfect scores, and an amazing 10 Democrats scored perfectly in reverse.

As a whole, the body averaged around 57. Jim Fannin, Mickey Guillory, and Major Thibaut were the three high-scoring Democrats, and 16 others were above 50. At the very bottom were Elton Aubert, Jared Brossett, Roy Burrell, Herbert Dixon, A.B. Franklin, Rick Gallot, Rickey Hardy, Reed Henderson, Girod Jackson, and Patrick Williams. For Republicans, the three scoring perfectly were Tim Burns, Franklin Foil, and Hunter Greene. Only two of them scored below 50, Ernest Wooton and Hollis Downs.

Here is the complete list (recall that District 40 is vacant), to be followed by senators and the governor next week:

Burns, T 100 Republican
Foil 100 Republican
Greene 100 Republican
Burford 90 Republican
Cortez 90 Republican
Cromer 90 Republican
Dove 90 Republican
Fannin 90 Democrat
Guillory, M 90 Democrat
Hazel 90 Republican
Henry 90 Republican
Hutter 90 Republican
Kleckley 90 Republican
LaBruzzo 90 Republican
Monica 90 Republican
Pearson 90 Republican
Schroder 90 Republican
Thibaut 90 Democrat
Waddell 90 Republican
Morris 85 Republican
Perry 85 Republican
Pope 85 Republican
Smith, J 85 Republican
Talbot 85 Republican
Barras 80 Democrat
Billiot 80 Democrat
Burns, H 80 Republican
Connick 80 Republican
Guinn 80 Republican
Katz 80 Republican
Ligi 80 Republican
Little 80 Republican
Lopinto 80 Republican
McVea 80 Republican
Mills 80 Democrat
Nowlin 80 Republican
Ponti 80 Republican
Pugh 80 Republican
Richard 80 Independent
Richardson 80 Republican
Simon 80 Republican
Smiley 80 Republican
Tucker 80 Republican
Wilmott 80 Republican
Badon, B 75 Democrat
Carter 75 Republican
Champagne 75 Democrat
Chandler 75 Democrat
Geymann 75 Republican
Hoffman 75 Republican
Johnson 75 Democrat
Landry 75 Republican
Robideaux 75 Independent
White 75 Republican
Templet 70 Republican
Arnold 65 Democrat
Gisclair 65 Democrat
Armes 60 Democrat
Hill 60 Democrat
Hines 60 Democrat
Howard 60 Republican
Jones, S. 60 Democrat
Carmody 55 Republican
Danahay 55 Democrat
Ellington 55 Democrat
Ernst 55 Republican
Harrison 55 Republican
Lambert 55 Republican
Montoucet 55 Democrat
Roy 55 Democrat
Wooton 45 Republican
Baldone 40 Democrat
Downs 40 Republican
LeBas 40 Democrat
Abramson 35 Democrat
Chaney 30 Democrat
Doerge 30 Democrat
Smith, G 30 Democrat
Badon, A 25 Democrat
Barrow Ashford 20 Democrat
Stiaes 20 Democrat
Anders 15 Democrat
Jackson, M 15 Independent
LaFonta 15 Democrat
Leger 15 Democrat
Ritchie 15 Democrat
St. Germain 15 Democrat
Honey 10 Democrat
Jones, R. 10 Democrat
Norton 10 Democrat
Peterson 10 Democrat
Richmond 10 Democrat
Edwards 5 Democrat
Smith, P 5 Democrat
Aubert 0 Democrat
Brossett 0 Democrat
Burrell 0 Democrat
Dixon 0 Democrat
Franklin 0 Democrat
Gallot 0 Democrat
Hardy 0 Democrat
Henderson 0 Democrat
Jackson, G 0 Democrat
Williams 0 Democrat

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