MANCHESTER, N.H.—To help identify which conservative incumbents truly defended traditional values and protected the natural rights of families during the last two years in the Legislature, Cornerstone Action is today releasing its 2011-2012 Legislative Scorecard, which can be downloaded at www.nhcornerstone.org/2012scorecard.
“Earlier this month, Cornerstone premiered its Families First Pledge to help distinguish which state candidates would promise to advance bills that preserve citizens’ rights of conscience and religion, protect innocent human life, defend the natural family and traditional marriage, restore the natural rights of parents to raise, educate and care for their own children, and enact free market economic policies to ensure prosperity in New Hampshire,” said Shannon McGinley, Cornerstone’s acting executive director.
“With the release of our legislative scorecard today, voters will be able to identify for themselves which current state representatives or senators have already supported these principles in the Legislature, and which incumbents have not,” McGinley said. “We hope this information will help voters make an informed decision on whether to send their incumbent representatives or senators back to the State House, or whether a new candidate for office may be a better choice.”
To rate each lawmaker on its 2011-2012 Legislative Scorecard, Cornerstone Action selected 39 roll call votes in the House and 20 roll call votes in the Senate from the just-completed biennial session of the Legislature. Since Cornerstone’s mission is not tied to only one or two issues, but actually extends more broadly to address all traditional values and the natural rights of families, the scorecard does not apply a mathematical weight to any particular vote. Instead, the scorecard treats each vote equally, and provides a score adjusted for attendance and one that is not adjusted for attendance. Thus, a legislator’s score will reflect the actual percentage of his or her votes that were aligned with Cornerstone’s agenda and also reflect his or her attendance record.
“We hope voters will not just look at a legislator’s score and assume that an 85 percent or even a 90 percent score is adequate,” McGinley said. “We hope voters will look through our scorecard and identify where each lawmaker fell short, and perhaps even reach out to these legislators to ask them about their record. Then, based on that information, we hope voters will make informed decisions about whether their incumbent candidates are worth supporting again.”
To help supporters judge candidates based on the issues that matter to them most, Cornerstone’s scorecard arranges each of the 59 votes selected into one of four categories, and provides a category grade for each incumbent. For example:
- Votes on bills to repeal gay “marriage,” require parental consent before children can receive certain medical treatments, or create an education tax credit and scholarship program are indexed in a “family” category.
- Votes on bills to secure a woman’s right to know about the details of her planned abortion, to prohibit the use of state funds for abortions, or to prevent assisted suicide are labeled in a “life” category.
- Votes on bills to secure a religious exemption for contraceptive coverage in health insurance policies, to allow employees to choose whether they will pay for or join a union association, or to require the New Hampshire Attorney General to join the lawsuit opposing Obamacare are sorted in a “constitution” category.
- Votes on bills that cut $10 billion out of the state budget, repealed the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, prevented funding of public television or phased in a defined contribution plan for state employees were grouped in a “fiscal” category.
In addition to the four categories for rated bills, each bill is also sorted into identifying topics, such as “education” for a bill in the “family” category that allows parents to take their children out of courses with objectionable material, or “judiciary” for CACR 26, which is the constitutional amendment in the “constitution” category that will restore some of the Legislature’s power to determine how courts themselves must follow the law. The scorecard also succinctly describes each bill’s purpose.
“Ultimately, we know that our scorecard will be a vital tool that voters can use to help them make informed decisions come primary election time,” McGinley said. “We also hope incumbents and new candidates who sign our Families First Pledge recognize that they cannot just say one thing and do another. With the biennial release of our scorecard, they should also know that voters will hold them accountable for their actions.”