Civitas Releases Their 2020 Freedom Ratings. Keith Kidwell Scores a Perfect Score.
Today Civitas Action released its annual Freedom Rankings for the 2020 legislative short session. For the first time, this year's release also includes a combined 2019-2020 biennium score. The Freedom Rankings inform voters on where their state legislators came down on key votes related to issues of limited government, personal responsibility, free-markets, and civic engagement.
Civitas Action's Freedom Rankings are the only ranking system in North Carolina that allows citizens to gauge how effective their state legislators are at expanding and defending freedom.
The 2020 Freedom Rankings grade 120 House members and 50 Senate members. Due to the unusual nature of a legislative session during a global pandemic, the 2020 Freedom Rankings have a small number of graded bills compared to past years. The Senate was graded on four votes while the House had five graded votes. For comparison, the last legislative short session (2018) had eight graded bills in the Senate and 10 graded bills in the House.
In the House, Keith Kidwell (R-Beaufort), Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus), and David Rogers (R-Rutherford) all obtained perfect scores with no absences.
In the Senate, Ben Clark (D-Cumberland) obtained the top score of 75, voting against freedom on only one vote. Clark is the first Democrat to earn a top ranking in the history of the Freedom Rankings. (Note: Rep. Evelyn Terry (D-Forsyth) had a perfect score in 2016, but had an excused absence for all graded votes except one).
"Freedom is not a partisan issue," said Civitas Action President Donald Bryson. "These rankings are meant to be informative to North Carolinians on the voting records of legislators, and as referenced in the state constitution, that the 'essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized' during the legislative session."
In North Carolina, the legislature operates in two year sessions, making the biennium score an appropriate measure to capture legislators' records for the entirety of one term. The 2019-2020 biennium Freedom Rankings grade 125 House members and 52 Senate members, (these higher numbers are due to mid-session resignations and appointments). This score consists of 19 graded votes in the Senate and 22 graded votes in the House.
Representative Kidwell was the only House member to earn a perfect score in both years of the legislative session, earning him the top ranking for the House in the biennium. This is Rep. Kidwell's first term in the legislature.
Senator Andy Wells (R-Catawba) earned the top spot in the Senate for the biennium with an 87.5 score. Sen. Wells also ranked first in the Senate on the 2016 Freedom Rankings. Wells served three terms in the Senate, having previously served one term in the House. Wells resigned from the Senate in July 2020.
Legislators who did not serve in both years of the legislative session are not included in the 2019-2020 biennium score since their biennium score would simply replicate their single-year score. See the full list of excluded legislators and learn more about the Freedom Rankings from 2020 and the 2019-2020 biennium here.
Civitas Action is a 501(c)(4) non-profit that educates and informs North Carolinians on policy issues and the actions of their elected officials.
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