Oklahoma Legislators Rated
By: Constitution Staff
The Oklahoma Constitution presents the 42nd annual Oklahoma Conservative Index rating our state legislators. Members of each house of the Oklahoma Legislature were rated on ten key votes. A favorable vote on these issues represents a belief in conservative principles.
The 2020 Oklahoma Conservative Index is only available online at this time. Click on the box in the upper right of our web page that is labeled “How Conservative is your legislator?” It will also be published in our Summer printed edition which will be out at the end of July. We are making it available online now so that it will be available before the Primary Election on June 30.
After taking suggestions from conservative leaders, the staff of the Oklahoma Constitution submitted suggested bills to a vote of the membership of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC) to determine the ten key votes. The legislators were rated based on their votes on bills which included such issues as preserving secure elections, protecting privacy, protecting the right to keep and bear arms, obstructing overbearing government regulations, against subsidies, and protecting life.
To determine this year’s rating, 10 points were earned for each conservative vote (designated by a C), and no points were awarded for a liberal vote (indicated by an L). Each failure to vote (recorded as a Z) provides only three points. When the rating system was created in 1979, it was decided that there should be a difference between voting liberal, and missing a vote. A legislator absent for all the votes could only score 30%.
Thus, a legislator voting conservative on eight votes, liberal on one, and failing to vote on another, would receive eighty plus three, or an 83% conservative rating.
This year’s conservative rating was averaged with the legislator’s scores from any previous years of service to obtain the Cumulative Average score for all the years that legislator has been rated. With term limits, we have moved into a period when no legislator will have a cumulative score based on a period longer than twelve years. By examining this year’s score in relation to the Cumulative Average, the voting pattern of a particular legislator can be determined. While most score nearly the same, year after year, others trend upward or downward from their average. If your legislator is trending toward conservatism, please offer you encouragement and support. If your legislator is exhibiting a leftward trend, it is time to express your disappointment and suggest the need for a replacement if the trend is not reversed.
The average score this year was 62% in the House and was also 62% in the Senate. The Top Conservative and Top Liberal legislators were selected by their scores on the Index. Making the Top Conservatives list are the 50 lawmakers who scored 80% or more. On the Top Liberals list are the 22 lawmakers scoring 20% or less.
Only one legislator, Senator Nathan Dahm of Broken Arrow, scored a perfect 100% conservative rating this year. One legislator, Senator Casey Murdock of Felt, scored 93 percent. Nine House members scored 90% including Rusty Cornwell of Vinita, Tom Gann of Inola, Mark Lepak of Claremore, Terry O’Donnell of Catoosa, Jim Olsen of Roland, Russ Todd of Cordell, David Smith of McAlester, Zack Taylor of Seminole, and Kevin West of Moore.
Three House members scored 83% including Trey Caldwell of Lawton, David Hardin of Stilwell, and Sean Roberts of Hominy.
Completing the list of Top Conservatives were 36 legislators who scored 80 percent. Senate members scoring 80% were Julie Daniels of Bartlesville, Darcy Jech of Kingfisher, James Leewright of Bristow, Joe Newhouse of Broken Arrow, Marty Quinn of Claremore, Paul Rosino of Oklahoma City, Rob Standridge of Norman, and Gary Stanislawski of Tulsa. House members scoring 80% were Rhonda Baker of Yukon, Jeff Boatman of Tulsa, Brad Boles of Marlow, Ty Burns of Morrison, Chad Caldwell of Enid, Denise Crosswhite of Yukon, Dean Davis of Broken Arrow, Sheila Dills of Tulsa, Jon Echols of Oklahoma City, Avery Frix of Muskogee, Brian Hill of Mustang, Chris Kannady of Oklahoma City, Lundy Kiger of Poteau, Charles McCall of Atoka, Kevin McDugle of Broken Arrow, Carl Newton of Cherokee, Mike Osburn of Edmond, Kenton Patzkowsky of Balko, Dustin Roberts of Durant, Lonnie Sims of Jenks, Jay Steagall of Yukon, Judd Strom of Copan, Tammy Townley of Ardmore, Mark Vancuren of Owasso, Kevin Wallace of Wellston, Josh West of Grove, Tammy West of Bethany, and Harold Wright of Weatherford.
Two legislators scored zero conservative this year, taking the liberal position on all ten bills included this year. Kay Floyd of Oklahoma City, the Senate Minority (Democrat) Leader, scored zero. In the House, Trish Ranson of Stillwater also scored zero. Two members of the House scored 6% this year, Jason Dunnington of Oklahoma City, and Monroe Nickols of Tulsa. Five legislators, three in the Senate and two in the House scored 10 percent. Senators scoring 10% are Carri Hicks of Oklahoma City, Julia Kirt of Oklahoma City, and Kevin Matthews of Tulsa. House members scoring 10% are Meloyde Blancett of Tulsa and Melissa Provenzano of Tulsa. Regina Goodwin of Tulsa, Ben Loring of Miami, Jacob Rosecrants of Norman, and John Waldron of Tulsa scored 13 percent. David Perryman of Chickasha scored 15 percent. Representative Jason Lowe of Oklahoma City scored 19 percent.
Finishing out the Top Liberals list are legislators who scored 20 percent. Senators scoring 20% are Michael Brooks of Oklahoma City, and George Young of Oklahoma City. House members Kelly Albright of Midwest City, Forrest Bennett of Oklahoma City, Denise Brewer of Tulsa, Andy Fugate of Oklahoma City, and Cyndi Munson of Oklahoma City also scored 20 percent.
A description of the bills used for this year’s ratings, a list of all the legislators with their vote on each of the ten bills, their score for this year, and their Cumulative Average which includes scores from any previous years served, will be found in the center section of our Summer edition. It is also available by clicking the box labeled “How Conservative is your legislator?” in the upper right corner of our home page at: www.oklahomaconstitution.com
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