"So then each of us shall give account of himself to God."
[Author's Note: Empower Texans scorecard can be found here; CWA's can be found here; Rice University House and Senate.]
While not every scorecard covering the 84th #TXLEGE session has been released, the ones currently out begin to reveal interesting patterns.
In no particular order:
- The most interesting thing we've observed is the degree to which the Rice University scorecard mirrors the Empower Texans scorecard. This is notable because people like to allege that Empower's scorecard is biased against leadership. For a non-partisan index to mirror Empower's work proves the lie of that claim.
- All three indexes confirm that the members of the House who voted for Scott Turner are the most conservative ones; while some Straus supporters were on the lower end of the conservative mix, it was the same names consistently at the top of all three.
- On Empower's scorecard: Generally, the 'conservative when convenient' house members scored worse than they did in 2013, while the outright RINO's scored substantially better.
- Author's note: One major difference between 2015 and 2013 is that this time the budget was scored as a positive vote whereas last time it was negative.
- Empower: 18 Republican members of the Texas House got an 'A'; 47 Republican members (almost half the caucus) got an F.
- Empower: By contrast, every single Republican member of the Texas Senate got a passing grade.
- Empower: Even among the Freshmen House members who voted for Straus, the new person tended to rate substantially higher than the person they replaced; for example, while John Wray isn't our cup of Tea, his 77 is 48 points better than the disgraced Jim Pitts' 29 in 2013.
- Empower: Speaking of Brandon Crieghton, he improved from an 84 in the House in 2013 to a 90 in the Senate in 2015.
- Empower/Rice: By contrast, some of the biggest declines came from Giovanni Capriglione (no surprise there), Jodie Laubenberg, Phil King, and Cindy Burkett.
- All three: Joe Straus' committee chairs tended to fall in the most liberal third of the Republican caucus; this topic merits its' own post.
- All three: Among local reps, John Cyrier (Bastrop), Jason Isaac (Hays), and Paul Workman (Travis) all finished in the middle of the pack. The Williamson County House delegation (Tony Dale, Marsha Farney, and Larry Gonzales) all finished in the most liberal third of the Republican caucus. Senators Charles Schwertner (Williamson) and Donna Campbell (Travis/Hays etc.) finished in the 'B' range.
- CWA/Empower: Cecil Bell and Rick Miller scored substantially higher on CWA's scorecard than Empower Texans.
- Rice: In the tiebreaker, Bell is the highest rated Straus supporter while Miller is in the middle of the pack.
- All three: Among Senators who haven't retired Kel Seliger, Joan Huffman, Craig Estes, Robert Nichols, Larry Taylor, and Jane Nelson are the most liberal members of the Republican caucus.
- Author's Note: That being said, Jane Nelson did a fantastic job as chair of the Finance Committee and deserves some slack.
- Empower: Former speaker Tom Craddick had a higher score than any Straus appointed committee chair.
- Empower: Interestingly enough, Dennis Bonnen improved from a 60 to a 72.
Bottom Line: Turnover made this past #TXLEGE incrementally more conservative than the one before. Turnover will make then next one incrementally more conservative than this one. Eventually, that turnover will hit critical mass.