Capitol Weekly has updated it's legislative scoresheet to reflect Sen. Tom Harman's vote against SB 1301, which changes his score to 5, instead of 10. It shows Assemblyman Juan Arambula's vote in favor of AB 1781, the budget bill, which changes his score to 64, from 59. Also, Assemblyman George Plescia voted against the budget bill, giving him a score of 10, and Assemblyman Bob Huff voted against AB 2716, the sick leave bill.
It's that time again.
As Capitol staffers and lobbyists frantically come up against bill deadlines, and maybe even talk about the budget now and then, the editorial team here at Capitol Weekly has been busily reducing lawmakers to basic, rudimentary statistics.
Every political scorecard has its problems, and this one is no exception. The selection of bills is subjective, chosen after conversations with Capitol staff and experts, and our own observations of big debates over the last two years under the dome.
The bills we chose were not necessarily the most publicized, or even the most hotly contested in all cases. But we sought to pick a variety of bills dealing with diverse topics that lawmakers have been asked to tackle over the last legislative session.
Part of the problem with this particular scorecard is the fact that both legislative houses, and all legislative committees, are controlled by Democrats. As such, the controversial bills that do find their way to the floor are disproportionately Democrat-sponsored bills.
For all of its imperfections, we've found this scorecard a worthy exercise. While it may not paint the most well-rounded portrait of California's 120 legislators, certain trends stand out. For one, all four legislative leaders, and the one legislative leader-in-waiting, scored perfect "conservative" or "liberal" scores. Perhaps that sheds a bit of light why we have such a difficult time coming to a budget resolution every year.
Also, our scorecard reflects what most Capitol observers know to be true: That Democrats from the Central Valley tend to be more moderate than their caucus colleagues, while Republicans in contested districts like Abel Maldonado and Greg Aghazarian earn more centrist marks than those lawmakers in more solid, partisan districts.
We expect the usual round of griping and harrumphing that comes with our annual publication of this scorecard – in fact, we welcome it. That's what this scorecard aims to be – a conversation piece for our fellow California political junkies.
As always, we look forward to your feedback. If experience has taught us anything, it's that our readers are not shy about telling us what they think.
With that, here are the nominees…