Arkansas's Freedom Scorecard

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The Advance Arkansas Institute, an Arkansas-based nonprofit research and educational organization committed to influencing public policy based on free markets, individual liberty and limited transparent government, released its Arkansas's Freedom Scorecard in 2013 and 2012. The scorecard seeks to show how Arkansas legislators voted on the principles the Institute seeks to promote. It measures each state legislator in six categories, which include economic freedom, education reform, good government, personal liberty, small government, and tax/budget policy. Those legislators that reside in the top quarter according to their overall score received the title of "Friend of Freedom."[1]

2013 report

The 2013 report covered the voting records of state legislators serving in Arkansas's 89th General Assembly, from 2012-2013. Roughly 100 notable bills were voted upon during the session and chosen by the Advance Arkansas Institute. The Institute ranked the voting records of the legislators and gave each an overall score according to the votes the Institute deemed in favor of "clean elections, criminal justice, education reform, economic freedom, Obamacare and health care reform, integrity in government, lawsuit reform, personal liberty, anti-cronyism, Second Amendment rights, smaller government, and tax relief." Scores between the state House and state Senate are also not comparable due to the fact that not all bills that the House voted on made it to the Senate floor and vice versa.[2]

The top-10 members of the state House considered most supportive of the Institute's values in 2013 were:

The bottom-10 members of the state House considered least supportive of the Institute's values in 2013 were:

The top-10 members of the state Senate considered most supportive of the Institute's values in 2013 were:

The bottom-10 members of the state Senate considered least supportive of the Institute's values in 2013 were:

2013 Arkansas House scorecard

2013 Arkansas Senate scorecard

2012 report

The 2012 report covered the voting records of state legislators serving in Arkansas's 88th General Assembly, from 2011-2012. More than 40 bills during the session were examined and chosen by the Advance Arkansas Institute as notable. The Institute ranked the voting records of the legislators according to the votes the Institute deemed "fidelity to freedom and good government." Scores between the state House and state Senate are also not comparable due to the fact that not all bills that the House voted on made it to the Senate floor and vice versa.

The top-10 members of the state House considered most supportive of the Institute's values in 2012 were:

The bottom-10 members of the state House considered least supportive of the Institute's values were:

The top-10 members of the state Senate considered most supportive of the Institute's values were:

The bottom-10 members of the state Senate considered least supportive of the Institute's values were:

2012 Arkansas House Scorecard

2012 Arkansas Senate Scorecard

Methodology

The Institute evaluated Arkansas state legislators based on six categories:[3]

  • Economic freedom: The Institute measured support for economic freedom in terms of voting against "inefficient or costly regulations" and "burdens on the right to earn a living." Bills included in this category cover mandates on home construction, farmers' market regulations, and regulations on pharmacies and customers. The Institute also encouraged support for one bill in this category (HB 1893), which would establish "teaching license reciprocity with other states."
  • Education reform: Education reform for the Institute included support for "a general, suitable, and efficient system of free public schools," which is required by the Arkansas Constitution. The Institute viewed several bills worthy of support in this category, including bills that would remove burdens from students under public school choice law, ease caps on charter schools, repeal parent-petition requirements for charter schools, and protect students' rights to public school choice. Opposition to other bills, including two bills designed to end the requirement of reporting public school grade inflation and to put obstacles in the way of charter schools, were also included in the Institute's measurement.
  • Good government: Government conduct plays a large role for the Institute's measurement of good government. Several bills were considered as supportive of good government, which include preventing state government from treating contractors equally with contractors that knowingly employ illegal immigrants, requiring ethics disclosures from election commissioners, prohibiting election commissioners from business deals with election boards, requiring photo ID to vote, and making information on government finances available on the Internet. The Institute also recommended voting against certain bills it deemed antithetical to good government, such as reducing criminal penalties for multiple crimes, extending law enforcement authority to private colleges, and making 'cyberbullying' a crime.
  • Personal liberty: The Institute urged support for particular bills that protect personal liberty, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the protection of concealed carry rights, and blocking local governments from regulating Second Amendment rights. The Institute also recommended opposition to bills that would prohibit cell phone use in school zones, expand college and university smoking prohibitions to private vehicles, and prohibitions on smoking in cars around children.
  • Small government: This category includes legislation that the Institute believes expands the role of government in one form or another. Several bills in this category include spending on state health insurance exchanges as part of the health care law, subsidies to private industries, statewide school dress code regulations, and the creation of the Commission on the Status of Women, among other legislation.
  • Tax/budget policy: The Institute supported several bills designed to reduce taxes for large segments of the Arkansas population, including reductions on capital gains, the reduction of auto sales taxes and manufacturers' sales taxes, and decreases in food sales taxes. Bills that the Institute opposed included legislation designed to create an unemployment trust fund to be subsidized by tax increase elections (the Institute instead supported a bill meant to slightly reduce unemployment benefits and stop potential tax increases).

See also

External links

References