PHOENIX-The Goldwater Institute today released its third annual Legislative Report Card, the state's most comprehensive analysis of the voting records of all Arizona legislators. The report card uses an objective scoring system to determine how well each legislator has respected and advanced the enumerated rights of the people consistent with the Arizona Constitution.
The analysis scores legislators on 354 votes in four policy areas: Education, Constitutional Government, Regulation, and Tax and Budget. The new Legislative Report Card shows a general improvement in scores. Since 2003, average scores have risen nine percent in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, indicating the legislature is improving in its role as a guardian of individual rights.
Seventeen legislators earned scores in the A range, and top scorers were freshman Senator Ron Gould (R-3) with an A-, and for the second year in a row, Representative Russell Pearce (R-18) with an A. Twenty legislators earned failing grades. Both chambers had the highest average scores in the areas of Education and Constitutional Government, followed by Tax and Budget. The lowest average scores were in Regulatory policy.
The Goldwater Institute Legislative Report Card is widely recognized for bringing transparency to the legislative process. As one Tucson Citizen editorial described it, "If you embrace the political ideals of Goldwater, the Institute's report card is an apt guide of legislative performance. If Goldwater's politics offended you, low-scoring lawmakers are right up your political alley. Regardless of one's political leanings, the Goldwater Institute does a thorough and useful job of political analyses."
Arizonans can look up their legislators' grades by zip code, district number, or last name by visiting the Goldwater Institute My Legislator tool.
The 2005 Legislative Report Card is available here.