FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 8, 2015
Austin, TX — Today, Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) released its ratings of the 84th Texas Legislature.
These ratings mark the 21st consecutive installment of the YCT scorecard. With bi-yearly installments dating back to 1975, YCT issues the most thorough, respected and consistent legislative ratings in the Lone Star State. You can view their ratings online at http://ratings.yct.org/.
“Any legislator can claim to be conservative, so our scorecard gives voters an objective tool to cut through the noise and compare results to rhetoric,” said Jeff Morris, YCT State Chairman. “Over the last 6 months, we have carefully vetted the voting records of each legislator to determine who truly went down to Austin and did their job.”
Scores for the 84th Legislature are calculated based on 50 votes taken in both the Senate and the House. Members of the legislature received a score for the session based on their votes on bills that have a clear left/right policy choice. Each legislator also has a combined career score covering his or her time in the legislature.
Taking into account all members of each chamber, the average score in the House was a 46 and in the Senate a 56. The average score amongst Republicans in the House was a 63 and a 74 in the Senate.
Senator Konni Burton and Representative Matt Rinaldi earned the group’s ‘Rookie of the Year’ awards for their first legislative session in their respective chambers of the legislature.
“Under the leadership of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Senate flourished with the highest scores on record for the chamber,” continued Morris. “The addition of nine new freshmen made a huge difference in the culture of the senate.”
YCT recognized 13 Legislators with scores of 90% or above on their “Honor Roll” for the session. They were Rep. Jonathan Stickland (100), Sen. Konni Burton (98), Rep. Matt Rinaldi (98), Rep. Matt Krause (96), Rep. Tony Tinderholt (96), Rep. Matt Schaefer (94), Rep. Scott Turner (94), Rep. Matt Shaheen (92), Rep. Stuart Spitzer (92), Rep. Molly White (92), Sen. Bob Hall (90), Sen. Don Huffines (90) and Rep. David Simpson (90).
The most liberal Republicans in the House were Rep. JD Sheffield (33), Rep. Gilbert Peña (33), and Rep. J.M. Lozano (36). The most liberal Republicans in the Senate were Sen. Kel Seliger (56), Sen. Craig Estes (60), and Sen. Kevin Eltife (58). The most liberal Democrats in the House were Rep. Dukes (2), Rep. Johnson (9) and Rep. Anchia (9). The most liberal Democrats in the Senate were Sen. Ellis (16), Sen. Menendez (16), Sen. Jose Rodriguez (16) and Sen. Kirk Watson (14).
Along with the release of this year’s ratings YCT also announced the new ‘Ratings Web Application.’ This year, YCT students and young professionals volunteered to research and compile all historical ratings. These ratings, along with the current ratings, now reside within an interactive web application.
This application is available in a colorful, easy-to-use format which allows for quick analysis specific to these ratings. YCT plans to enhance its web application with many new features in the future. Again, YCT invites you to view the legislative ratings online at http://ratings.yct.org/.
“It is our hope that the ratings web application will be used by voters and legislators alike to better understand the political climate in which the Texas Legislature operates. I am excited to see what sort of analytics we can provide Texans in the future based on this application,” said William Dominguez, who serves as the Chair of the YCT Legislative Affairs Committee.
YCT prides itself on being objective in the record votes it chooses to rate. In general, the ratings do not include unanimous votes, since those votes do not measure on an ideological scale. The ratings are not padded by any additional weights, nor are legislators given any special sponsorship credit. Higher scores are generally difficult to obtain on this rating spectrum. These ratings were compiled by a committee of members of our organization. In order to keep the ratings as objective as possible, the committee itself was comprised of individuals who do not currently serve in any legislative office or on any particular campaign.
Young Conservatives of Texas is a non-partisan organization that has promoted conservatism at universities across the Lone Star State for over three decades. The State’s most active political youth organization, YCT is composed of hundreds of members and alumni who participate in the full spectrum of politics. YCT issues the most respected ratings of the Texas legislature and is the only conservative group to have done so without interruption over the past 21 legislative sessions. For more information about YCT, please visit .