Today Common Cause Rhode Island releases our 10th biennial Legislative Scorecard, which saw an increase from the previous all-time lows. Our scorecard rates all 113 members of the Rhode Island General Assembly based on votes on government reform. Detailed descriptions of the bills used, as well as scores for individual legislators can be found here. A more detailed list of votes for the House and Senate are also available. Common Cause creates the scorecard as a service to our members every two years.
The 2011-2012 General Assembly saw several significant advances for open government and campaign finance transparency. The legislature passed long-sought changes to the Access to Public Records Act and enacted significant campaign finance disclosure legislation. In the areas of judicial selection and ethics reform, however, we saw little progress. Notably, neither chamber took up a Common Cause initiative to let the voters decide whether lawmakers should be subject to the jurisdiction of the state's Ethics Commission.
Common Cause used 27 Senate votes, and 28 House votes in our scorecard, focusing on our core issues of campaign finance and election reform, ethics and lobbying reform, judicial selection, open government and separation of powers. The average score for members of the Senate was 66% and 68% for the House. Those averages represent a rise from all-time lows of 51% and 48% respectively in 2009-2010. A large number of small reforms resulted in the number of votes counted rising dramatically.
Common Cause never endorses candidates for any public office. The scorecard reports only how members of the General Assembly voted on particular bills of concern to Common Cause. Scoring does not constitute opposition or endorsement.
Office: Common Cause Rhode Island