Republican Liberty Caucus Of Arizona Publishes 2022 Legislative Scorecard

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The Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona (RLCAZ) has published the 2022 Liberty Index, our fifth annual legislative scorecard, ranking Arizona’s legislators based on the principles of individual rights, limited government and free markets. There are a handful of other scorecards out there, but ours is different because we score on a broad range of issues to see which legislators truly are defending liberty. We scored legislators on 22 key floor votes during the 2022 legislative session.

When we launched Arizona’s Republican Liberty Caucus chapter back in 2018, we wanted to identify and support principled liberty-Republicans like Rand Paul and Thomas Massie, but at the state level. By taking a deep dive into legislators’ voting records, our scorecards recognize the top defenders of liberty each year. This year eight legislators earned a score of 100: Neal Carter (106), Jake Hoffman (106), Joseph Chaplik (104), Jacqueline Parker (104), Warren Petersen (102), Travis Grantham (102), Judy Burges (100), and Beverly Pingerelli (100). Out of 90 state legislators, these eight were the ones who showed an unwavering commitment to individual rights, limited government and free markets.

One unique aspect of the Liberty Index is the scoring system, which allows for bonus and penalty points. Oftentimes, legislators think they can get away with things in committee. It’s common to hear legislators say, “I’ll vote yes today, but I reserve my right to change my vote on the floor.” This means the legislator is compromising their principles and allowing a bad bill to advance out of committee. Once a bad bill gets out of committee, there is no guarantee that it will be fixed or killed on the floor. We want legislators to stand on principle not just on the floor, but in committee. This is why we offer bonus and penalty points for key committee votes. We keep our legislators fully accountable for their actions. Additionally, we offer bonus points for cosponsoring certain good bills that never made it out of committee. This serves as a reward and an incentive to sponsor similar legislation in future sessions.

The Liberty Score is determined by calculating the percentage that a legislator voted in line with the RLCAZ. For example, if a legislator voted with the RLCAZ on all 22 floor votes, their score is 100. After factoring in bonus and penalty points, some legislators score above 100. All floor votes are scored equally with one exception. The General Appropriations Act (HB2862), which appropriates a majority of this year’s $18 billion budget, was weighted as two bills. We opposed this bill because it implemented a massive $5 billion spending increase. With such a wasteful and unnecessary expansion of government, we felt it was necessary to weigh this vote heavier than others.

Most legislators saw their Liberty Score drop dramatically this year. Last year the average Republican score in both chambers was 83. This year the average House Republican scored 75 and the average Senate Republican scored 60. This was partly due to the House and Senate leadership, who allowed a plethora of bad legislation to go up on the board. The few principled legislators voted against these bills, but many just rubber stamped these crony bills that expanded wasteful government programs.

Some of the bad bills we opposed this year were:

  • HB2156, Sen. David Gowan’s bill appropriating $125 million in tax credits to film companies.
  • HB2685, Rep. Frank Carroll and Sen. Tyler Pace’s bill extending the Maricopa County transportation sales tax for another 25 years.
  • SCR1049, Sen. Paul Boyer’s bill to allow increased sales taxes for fire district funding.
  • SB1710, Sen. David Gowan’s bill creating a new government agency to promote sports, tourism and film.
  • HB2101, Rep. Gail Griffin’s bill emboldening the monopolies SRP and APS already have on our power.
  • SB1168, Rep. Steve Kaiser’s bill imposing hefty new regulations and fees on short term rental properties.

Some of the good bills we supported this year were:

  • HB2107, Sen. Warren Petersen and Rep. Leo Biasiucci’s bill to prevent local governments from shutting down private businesses during an emergency declaration.
  • HB2498, Rep Jake Hoffman’s bill preventing government entities from imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
  • HB2507, Rep. Ben Toma’s bill preventing the state from shutting down churches and religious services during an emergency declaration.
  • SB1009, Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita’s bill imposing limitations on the Governor’s emergency powers.
  • HB2489, Rep. Justin Wilmeth’s bill allowing 18-20 year olds to obtain a concealed weapons permit.
  • HB2853, Rep. Ben Toma’s bill expanding eligibility for Empowerment Scholarship Accounts.
  • HB2540, Rep. Neal Carter’s bill allowing drug possession charges to remain undesignated, giving Judge’s the discretion to designate the offense a misdemeanor upon completion of the sentence.
  • HB2119, Rep. Steve Kaiser’s bill streamlining the civil rights restoration process for non-violent individuals.

See how your legislators scored. View the 2022 Liberty Index here:

About Ben Beckhart Secretary/Treasurer - Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona 5 Articles
Ben Beckhart is the Secretary/Treasurer of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona.