APN Issues State House, Senate Scorecard for 2014-2016 (UPDATE 1)
(APN) ATLANTA — As the 2017-2018 General Assembly Legislative Session quickly approaches in Georgia, Atlanta Progressive News is re-issuing our Combined Scorecard for 2014, 2015, and 2016 for legislators in the State House and Senate representing areas wholly or partially in Fulton and/or DeKalb Counties.
The Scorecard rates the candidates on the progressiveness of their voting records, based on legislative matters covered by Atlanta Progressive News, and whether their votes aligned with APN’s editorial stance on those bills.
The new, combined 2014-2016 Legislative Scorecard is available as a public Google spreadsheet, online HERE: http://bit.ly/1NV1p0D
Previously, APN issued its 2014 and 2015 Legislative Scorecards.
While we believe our editorial positions, which inform the scoring of the votes, reflect progressive principles of justice, readers are free to use the data underlying the Scorecards to develop their own grades.
This year, we focused on six bills that concerned topics including cityhood movements; the so-called “religious freedom” to discriminate or not follow laws; medical cannabis; a new MARTA transportation sales tax referendum; and the “Campus Carry” bill that would have allowed for students over the age of twenty one to carry licensed handguns on public university campuses to name a few.
Points of interest regarding the Fulton and DeKalb delegations include:
Senate Democrats appear to have stuck together in regards to the Campus Carry, allowing for a MARTA sales tax increase referendum, and Religious Freedom proposals; however, they were split on the issues regarding cityhood.
Senate Democrats, in general, stick together much more than House Democrats.
Though the Medical Cannabis bill did not receive a vote in the Senate, it is interesting to note, that of those who voted in the House delegations, only one Democrat, State Rep. Roger Bruce (D-Atlanta), and one Republican, State Rep. Brad Raffensperger (R-Johns Creek), voted against the measure.
The Campus Carry legislation did not receive one Democratic vote in the House or Senate delegations.
The Religious Freedom legislation did not receive one Democratic vote in the House or Senate.
In the State Senate, five Democrats scored one hundred percent, including State Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta), Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), Steve Henson (D-Atlanta), Elena Parent (D-Atlanta), and Gloria Butler (D-Atlanta).
The perfect scores are cumulative – meaning one hundred percent for the years 2014 to 2016.
On the other hand, State Rep. “Coach” Earnest Williams (D-Atlanta), who defeated a primary challenger in May, was absent from voting on five of the six bills APN has chosen to grade.
The absences were not weighed in his score of zero, although we disagreed with the one scored vote he took. Rep. Williams, in fact, is the least progressive legislator out of both delegations, when looking at 2016 by itself.
Ironically, the most progressive House Democrat over the last three years has been State Rep. Rahn Mayo (D-Decatur), with a score of 87.5.
However, Rep. Mayo did not participate in many controversial votes, a fact that Primary challenger Renitta Shannon used to successfully unseat the incumbent earlier this year. For example, his score this year does not include votes on Medical Cannabis or two of the three Cityhood proposals.
In the House delegations, there is a full range of scores, from very low F’s, to high D’s, among Republicans; and from low F to A, among Democrats.
The most progressive Republicans were State Rep. Beth Beskin (R-Atlanta), with a high D, or a score of 67; and former State Rep. Joe Wilkinson (R-Sandy Springs), who has retired from the legislator, who also scored 67. Both scored higher than numerous Democrats in the delegations.
Even State Rep. Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody), who scored 60, scored ahead of several Democrats.
The full rankings are below:
STATE SENATE (CUMULATIVE GRADE 2014 – 2016)
Sen. Nan Orrock (D) A+ 100
Sen. Vincent Fort (D) A+ 100
Sen. Steve Henson (D) A+ 100
Sen. Elena Parent (D) A+ 100
Sen. Gloria Butler (D) A+ 100
Sen. Horacena Tate (D) A- 93.3 (Dropped from 100 in 2014-2015)
Sen. Gail Davenport (D) A- 90 (Dropped from 95 in 2014-2015)
Sen. Emanuel Jones (D) B+ 89.3 (Dropped from 94 in 2014-2015)
Sen. Donzella James (D) C 75 (Dropped from 87.5 in 2014-2015)
Sen. JaNice VanNess (R) F 40 (2016 only)
Sen. Fran Millar (R) F 36.3 (Raised from 34.5 in 2014-2015)
Sen. Michael Crane (R) F 31.3 (Dropped from 37 in 2014-2015)
Sen. Brandon Beach (R) F 23 (Dropped from 24.5 in 2014-2015)
Sen. Hunter Hill (R) F 21.7 (Dropped from 22.5 in 2014-2015)
Sen. Judson Hill (R) F 20.2 (Dropped from 20.25 in 2014-2015)
Sen. David Shafer (R) F 13.2 (Dropped from 19.75 in 2014-2015)
Sen. John Albers (R) F 11.7 (Raised from 7.5 in 2014-2015)
STATE HOUSE (CUMULATIVE GRADE 2014 – 2016)
Rep. Rahn Mayo (D) B 87.5 (Raised from 81.25 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Michele Henson (D) B 86 (Dropped from 89 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Margaret Kaiser (D) B 84.8 (Dropped from 92.5 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Karla Drenner (D) B- 82.3 (Dropped from 82.5 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Pamela Stephenson (D) B- 80.2 (Raised from 67.5 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Stacey Abrams (D) C+ 78.7 (Raised from 76.5 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Howard Mosby (D) C+ 78.7 (Raised from 75.5 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Sheila Jones (D) C 77.5 (Dropped from 81.5 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Scott Holcomb (D) C 77.5 (Dropped from 81.25 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Keisha Waites (D) C 77 (Dropped from 80.5 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Mable Thomas (D) C 77 (Dropped from 80 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Virgil Fludd (D) C 74.3 (Dropped from 75.5 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Pat Gardner (D) C- 72.3 (Dropped from 73 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Billy Mitchell (D) C- 72.3 (Raised from 68.5 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D) D+ 69.7 (Dropped from 70.59 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Karen Bennett (D) D+ 68.3 (Dropped from 69 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick (D) D+ 68 (Dropped from 68.5 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Taylor Bennett (D) D+ 67 (2016 Only)
Rep. Park Cannon (D) D+ 67 (2016 Only)
Rep. Doreen Carter (D) D+ 67 (2016 Only)
Rep. Marie Metze (D) D+ 67 (2016 Only)
Rep. Sharon Beasley-Teague (R) D 66.7 (Dropped from 75 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Roger Bruce (D) D- 64 (Dropped from 68.5 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Ronnie Mabra (D) D- 61.7 (Raised from 56.25 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Beth Beskin (R) D- 61.5 (Raised from 56 2015 only)
Rep. Dee Dawkins-Haigler (D) F 56.3 (Raised from 44.5 in 2014-2015)
Rep. LaDawn Jones (D) F 56 (Raised from 51.5 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Wes Cantrell (R) F 50 (No change from 2015 Only)
Rep. E. “Coach” Williams (D) F 43.5 (Dropped from 68.5 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Chuck Martin (R) F 41.7 (Raised from 34.75 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Joe Wilkinson (R) F 41.7 (Dropped from 62 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Wendell Willard (R) F 41 (Raised from 33 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Tom Taylor (R) F 35.2 (Raised from 24.75 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Rich Golick (R) F 34.7 (Raised from 27 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Betty Price (R) F 33 (2016 Only)
Rep. Tom Rice (R) F 32.5 (Raised from 31 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Matt Dollar (R) F 31.3 (Raised from 27 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Jan Jones (R) F 29 (Dropped from 42 in 2014-2015)
Rep. Brad Raffensperger (R) F 27.3 (Dropped from 37.5 2015 only)
Rep. Mike Dudgeon (R) F 25.7 (Raised from 24 in 2014-2015)
CORRECTION: An original version of this article identified Rep. Beskin at one point as a Democrat in a parenthetical; however, it has been corrected to state (R-Atlanta).