There are Scorecards created and used to influence (change) the voting patterns of legislators and then there are Press Releases labeled as scorecards that advance the special interests of the organization. Lets look at some of the differences.
The AZRA Scorecard is created by volunteers over months that amounts to thousands of hours of evaluating about 2,000 bills written by legislators and placed into the legislative process. Of those bills, our Scorecard Committee members identify between 150 and 250 bills that are of utmost important, using the following criteria to weight them on a scale of -10 to +10.
Summary of major criteria used to weight bills:
- Supports the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights
- Supports the Republican Party Platform
- Supports Individual/private sector empowerment over government empowerment
- Supports Family Values and parental authority incl. education and health
- Supports national security/sovereignty – Border, natural resources, states rights
- Reduces government spending and over burdensome tax policies and rates
- Policies that will have significant impact on the population
The sole purpose of the AZRA Scorecard is to change the voting patterns of our legislators so the final bill/law will reflect the above criteria. To accomplish this purpose, we inform each Republican legislator which bills we are scoring PRIOR to the first committee vote on the selected bills. We give them the reason for our score and encourage them to contact us if they feel our scoring is not accurate. When they contact us, we conduct a second review of the bill – including their input – make a final score decision and publish the official scorecard. We also publish a “current” scorecard every week or two during session to keep everyone informed and accountable.
This year’s AZRA scorecard was comprised of 145 bills with a total possible score of 3919 points when including all recorded votes (sponsorship > committee > COW > Amendment > Floor> Third and Final votes.) Other major scorecards this year generally fall in the range of 25-35 bills with scores of less than 100 possible points. We believe it is impossible to come to a fair evaluation of legislators who cast thousands of votes every session on 1700 bills by scoring less than 30 bills.
Another major point of contrast is the AZRA Scorecard informs the members and the public of the scored bills and the actions taken at every stage of the process – IN REAL TIME. While we are being criticized by some, we are proud that every Republican legislator this year earned and A or A+ final grade. It is the first time in our history that this has happened. To be honest, we were also shocked that every Republican achieved that final grade this year, but we refuse to modify the results to meet a pre-determined outcome as some groups have done in the past. Looking forward, we are looking to score 225-250 bills next year.
Most grass roots conservatives who only look at the final Scorecard have no idea of the process. In spite of a lack of knowledge about our process, they tend to criticize our Scorecard as untrustworthy when some legislator scores do not align with the historic record of the legislator. However, AZRA believes it has achieved the primary goal of all the efforts to produce the Scorecard when that occurs. It should be the goal of every Constitutional conservative to influence a legislator who has a well earned reputation for being a moderate or RINO so they earn a positive rating for the latest session. The fact that AZRA is committed to changing behavior patterns instead of playing the ‘gotcha’ games after the session makes us a unique scorecard.
Lets compare and contrast a couple of other scorecards. We trust that each scorecard is a genuine reflection of legislative action in the area of focus for each specific organization. The published scorecards when viewed with that perspective in mind, are generally reliable and trustworthy. The Center for Arizona Policy has earned our trust and respect on Pro-Life and Pro-Moral issues. The Free Enterprise Institute and Americans for Prosperity have solid reputations when it comes to corporate economic profitability issues. The Arizona Pistol and Rifle Association along with the NRA have earned the trust of all of us when it comes to the 2nd Amendment issues.
However, as single issue organizations, they are different than AZRA. First, they do not identify and publish the specific bills that will be scored prior to or during the session. Some of the organizations have paid personnel who lobby legislators on hundreds of bills when only a few unidentified are chosen after the session to be published as their scorecard. Our scorecard is created by members who volunteer their time and expertise in a transparent, timely and accurate process across a wide spectrum of important issues. We identify areas of impact across twenty categories. Some bills impact multiple categories and are included in each as appropriate.
Last, it is important to note that, in spite of false statements by self serving individuals, there were 39 Election Integrity Bills passed by the legislature and sent to the governor. The AZRA Scorecard included 39 government regulation bills, 33 election integrity bills, 32 education bills – more in each category than the total bills scored by other major scorecards in Arizona. Learn the facts instead of self created rumors and innuendos when you evaluate the final results..
AZRA is grateful for everyone engaged in restoring the Constitutional values created under Divine Providence so we can live in the land of the free and home of the brave. God Bless America.