Principles of Liberty Bill Analysis Process
At Principles of Liberty, our goal is to focus the conversation on, “What is the proper role of the state government, and what is the best way to execute that role?” We clearly identify our core principles, we provide free training classes around the state to explain those principles and how we apply them to legislation, and we engage with volunteers, legislators, lobbyists, activists and others to analyze legislation proposed at the Wyoming state capitol in real time during our state legislative session.
When analyzing a bill, we go to great lengths to ensure we understand that bill inside and out. We review the bill multiple times. We read all the statutes associated with that bill. If necessary we reach out to legislators, lobbyists, and anyone else who might have additional information about the bill or the “backstory” behind it.
We also strive to publish our analysis of a bill before our legislators vote on it. We don’t play a “gotcha!” game of cherry-picking bills and rating them after the fact. This year we published analyses on 45 bills. Why 45? We analyzed more than 45 bills but only published analyses on the bills we had the resources to thoroughly analyze prior to the vote in third reading (the vote that counts in our scores this year). We analyzed as many bills as we could, and we look forward to seeing the number of bills we analyze grow in subsequent years. If you want to see us publish more bills, we encourage you to attend one of our classes in the fall where you’ll receive training to equip you to become a volunteer analyst! Remember that your legislator may not have voted on every single bill that we rated (for example: if the bill died in the House, your Senator did not have the opportunity to vote on it), so if you have questions about how a legislator voted on a particular bill, we encourage you to ask us or your legislator.
Principles of Liberty End of Session Scorecard
At the end of each state legislative session, Principles of Liberty (POL) collects legislator vote data on the bills that we evaluated during the session. We typically evaluate a legislator’s votes in committee as well as his or her votes on third reading (the final vote taken before a bill passes out of the chamber). This year, we are only counting votes in third reading because one of POL’s goals is to publish our analysis of a bill before a legislator votes on it. Part of our learning curve this year was finding out how to anticipate the committee scheduling process so that we could prioritize our bill analysis in a way that would allow us to publish our analysis on a bill before that bill was heard in committee. This year we weren’t able to get all of our bill analyses published before the bills were heard in committee, so we are not including committee votes in legislator’s scores this year.
At Principles of Liberty, these “scores” are simply a byproduct of what we do—they are not our reason for what we do. Our goal is to generate discussion about the role of government, and this is simply another tool to help us do so. Our “scores” simply convey the percentage of the time that your legislator voted in agreement with our conclusions about the bills we rated.
One final word on these results from the 2017 legislative session: they are not curved in any way. They are raw scores that reflect the percentage of the time that your legislator voted “yes” on bills that POL said support our principles, and “no” on bills that POL said oppose our principles. We don’t expect anyone in politics to agree 100% of the time. These scores are helpful in identifying trends and making relative comparisons. They are not absolute indicators of “good” or “bad” legislators.
If you look at how we define our principles (located on our website), look at our explanations of the bills we rated, and find that in general you agree with our view on the role of government, then we hope these scores will provide you with a starting point for productive discussions with your legislators. Since we provide these scores as a tool for discussion, if you have a question about your legislator’s score we encourage you to ask them personally about their votes! If you agree with us on some bills but not on others, or if you want to see how your legislator voted on a particular bill and need help finding that information, send us an email and we’d be happy to help you. If you disagree with our principles or have questions about our methodology (we teach classes where we explain our principles and how we analyze bills!), feel free to reach out to us any time. Whether we agree or disagree at the end of the day, if we’re discussing what the proper role of government should be and whether our state legislators are executing that role then we are accomplishing our mission at Principles of Liberty.
We hope these numbers encourage you to discuss Free People, Free Markets, and Good Government in our great state!
|7||74.5%||Winters||Big Horn/Hot Springs/Fremont/Park|
|4||75.6%||Agar||Big Horn/Fremont/Hot Springs/Park/Washakie|