freedom-index-spiral-2016

VOTER GUIDE: Final Legislator Scorecard & Freedom Index

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 15, 2016

Failed Status Quo Exemplified by Continued Deeply Negative Overall General Assembly Scores

However, real-time ratings led to more positive individual scores

Providence, RI — Loaded with information that may be useful to voters this fall, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity published today the final report for its annual Freedom Index and Legislator Scorecard, as part of its larger transparency initiative.

Led by Representative Patricia Morgan (R, West Warwick) and Senator Elaine Morgan (R, Exeter) only 11 of 113 lawmakers, on a scale of (-100) to +100, earned positive scores: 10 Republicans and one independent; with nine in the House and two in the Senate.

Overall, however, the General Assembly as a body scored a negative (-54.1), continuing its five-year trend deep in red numbers, meaning Rhode Islanders have less freedom than they did last year.

“It is a result of this failed status quo of increased government intervention in our personal and business lives that we believe is why the Ocean State ranks so poorly in so many national indexes,” commented Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “It is not acceptable that we rank 50th, with the worst business climate in the nation; 48th on the national Family Prosperity Index (FPI); and 47th on the Center’s Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI). It’s up to voters to review this data and decide whether or not to hold lawmakers accountable for their voting records this November.”

On the RIFreedom.org/FreedomIndex home page, voters have access to a multitude of data and tools, including links to:

  • Legislator Scorecards for 2016 as well as for the prior 4 years
    Interactive data from 2012-2016 that can be filtered by a number of criteria including city/town, party, lawmaker, year, category, etc ..
  • 38 Studios Scorecard, released last month
  • “Walkers” Index, which tallied missed votes by lawmakers over the past 3 years, released in collaboration with WatchdogRI.org

Among other findings:

  • The Exeter contingent of House and Senate lawmakers was the highest ranked in the state, while the Newport contingent ranked lowest
  • House Republicans were the only major party caucus to score in positive territory (+7), while Senate Democrats were the lowest scoring (-68.8)
  • Overall, Republicans moved significantly higher, while Democrats dropped lower, further widening the partisan gap

Also, as a result of its new 2016 policy to post online real-time bill ranking and lawmaker scores, the Center was successful in proactively influencing future votes as opposed to just a reactive scoring of past votes. This can be evidenced by the fact that a number of lawmakers who followed the Center’s recommendations scored in positive territory in 2016, after years of almost no lawmakers scoring above zero.

Later this month, again in collaboration with WatchdogRI.org, the Center also plans to release its first-ever “Sheeple Index”, which rates how often lawmakers vote in lock-step with political leadership.

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