Not surprisingly, most of Florida’s GOP-led Legislature received high marks this week from the American Conservative Union, one of the oldest and most influential conservative groups.
Out of the 160 members of the Legislature, 106 Republicans scored at least an 80 percent. Paula Dockery, Evelyn Lynn and Dennis Jones all scored in the 70s.
The report scored how the legislators voted on 19 of the most controversial bills this past session, including:
- teacher tenure reform
- charter school expansion
- immigration reform
- government employee pension reform
- unemployment compensation reform
- Medicaid privatization
- the repeal of a ban on taxpayer funding for religious institutions
- the slew of anti-abortion bills that passed this last session
Eleven state senators got 100 marks, meaning they voted in line with the ACU on every bill — 29 representatives also scored 100.
The report also highlighted the “True Liberals of the Sunshine State,” which included legislators that received a zero percent from the group. Eighteen legislators were listed.
The report is part of the conservative moment’s push to focus on state lawmaking bodies.
“This inaugural expansion of our Conservative Ratings program is part of Chairman Al Cardenas’ vision for building on successful ACU initiatives and taking the fight for conservative principles to the state and local levels,” the report says. “In coming years, the ACU will increase the number of State Legislatures graded, adding to these initial five target states.” So far, reports have been compiled for Florida, Virginia, Nevada, Ohio and North Carolina.
In a release of Florida’s report (.pdf), Cardenas writes:
With State Legislatures playing host to many of the most significant and controversial policy debates facing Americans – from fighting ObamaCare to cutting spending to preserving traditional values – the ACU is committed to playing a defining role in these conversations. In states across the nation, there are countless examples of courageous leaders shunning big-government solutions in favor of ambitious conservative reforms that advance prosperity and individual freedom.
Sunshine State News reports that Cardenas, who is the former Republican Party of Florida chairman, was surprised at how conservative the Legislature has become.
“It was a wow moment for the movement,” Cardenas said, according to Sunshine State. “You let these experts come up with the matrix and they came with an analysis of dozens of bills and figured out which were best to home in on and then you grade them.”