(INDIANAPOLIS) — State legislators received their grades today from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce on their performance during the 2015 General Assembly. The numbers, released in the organization’s annual Legislative Vote Analysis, are based on voting records on pro-jobs, pro-economy legislation.
The 2015 scores were wide-ranging, from 36% to 100%. There were a total of nine perfect marks – all in the House, which is the exact opposite of last year when 10 senators were atop the list.
“We saw a greater spread in scores this year, even among those in the same party. That’s a testament to the nature of the public policy being introduced and debated, as well as the changing demographics in the Legislature,” states Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.
“Whether a legislator ranks high or low, their score is tied to how they voted on bills in our Legislative Agenda, which is presented to each member of the General Assembly. These bills are selected based on their significant effect on the state’s economic climate and workforce.”
New this year, the Indiana Chamber added a secondary leadership element to the scoring metrics: significant, tangible actions by committee chairs as well as bill authors and sponsors.
For more than a third of the legislators, this meant a “slight adjustment to the base voting scores and, we believe, represents a more accurate picture of their overall performance,” Brinegar says.
“Two important aspects of being a legislator aren’t captured in votes on the House and Senate floors. One is holding initial committee hearings and giving legislation the opportunity to move forward – or choosing not to do that,” he explains. “The other is authoring impactful legislation. This new factor allows us to include these key actions.”
Brinegar stresses that the overall voting record remains the overwhelming component of the scoring.
For 18 legislators who went the extra mile, they earned a star designation for overall leadership or their significant efforts on issues deemed of critical importance.
“These are the legislators who willingly take on some of the toughest tasks and repeatedly champion public policy that will move Indiana forward,” Brinegar offers.
The majority of the bills included for examination can be traced back to the Indiana Chamber’s economic development plan,Indiana Vision 2025 (www.indianachamber.com/2025), released in 2012. The plan contains 33 goals in the four driver areas of Outstanding Talent, Attractive Business Climate, Superior Infrastructure, Dynamic and Creative Culture.
All scores and the full report are available at the Indiana Chamber’s web site at www.indianachamber.com/lva.
Legislators who score 70% or greater for the most recent two-year voting period are eligible for endorsement by the Indiana Chamber’s political action committee, Indiana Business for Responsive Government.
Lawmakers are notified of the Indiana Chamber position and reasoning on the bills in this report through various communications during the legislative session – and prior to key votes being taken. Only floor votes for which there is a public record are used in the Legislative Vote Analysis.
Copies of the Legislative Vote Analysis report are sent to all legislators and Indiana Chamber board members, and made available online for all businesspersons, community leaders and citizens.
This marks the 31st year the Indiana Chamber has measured state legislators’ voting performance on bills that reflect the organization’s public policy positions.
The Indiana Chamber partners with 25,000 members and investors – representing over four million Hoosiers – to achieve the mission of “cultivating a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity.”