The Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF), a government watchdog and free market think tank based in Boise, has released the final ranking of its legislative Freedom Index from the 2012 legislative session. “The results shed detail light on which legislators support free market principles and voted to protect individual liberties,” according to Erik Makrush, policy analyst and project manager for AccountableIdaho.com. “Idahoans will now be able to tell if their legislators generally support freedom and free markets.”
Legislators are considered to have a pro-free market voting record if they have a cumulative score above zero. The higher the positive score, the more free market their voting record. The reverse is also true: The more negative a legislator’s voting record, the more the legislator was willing to support government regulation, fees and program expansion.
Policy experts from IFF authored analyses for more than 160 proposed pieces of legislation, of which 77 were voted on in the House and 62 were considered in the Senate. The bills that received a vote were tracked and the individual legislative score was based on how a lawmaker voted on that particular bill or resolution.
Senators and representatives from Districts 9, 3 and 21 posted the three highest Freedom Index scores. The lowest three were Districts 17, 25 and 33. Sen. Monty Pearce (District 9) of New Plymouth and Rep. Bob Nonini (District 5) of Coeur d’Alene posted the top scores in the Senate and the House respectively.
The Freedom Index is based on the impact the proposed legislation has on the free market, constitutional principles and individual liberties. A legislative bill was assigned points (positive or negative) from one of two tiers prior to voting in either house. All bills were evaluated using a series of questions that were applied to each bill. Points from the bill were assessed to each legislator based upon his or her vote for or against the bill. If the vote was in support of free markets, constitutional principles and/or individual liberties, then the legislator received positive points; if a legislator voted against free markets or constitutional principles, negative points were given.
Additional information, including voting records for each bill and policy analysis of each bill, can be found at www.accountableidaho.com or by contacting Erik Makrush at the IFF Boise office, 208-258-2280, extension 13.