Above: The latest rankings from the Center for Legislative Accountability. (Screenshot from website)
Indiana lawmakers are apparently getting less conservative.
That what the Center for Legislative Accountability found in an analysis of over 265,000 individual votes across 3,500 different bills introduced across the 50 state legislatures.
The voting of Indiana’s state lawmakers trended much more liberal last year, dropping the state from No. 3 to No. 20 in the national conservative rankings produced by the center.
Here are the top-ranked legislators in terms of conservative voting:
Indiana’s conservative rating fell from 72.93% to 60.53% last session, with only 46 of the state’s 110 Republican lawmakers voting in line with the conservative position at least 80% of the time.
The conservative rating is based on lawmaker voting across 186 policy areas ranging from cultural and life issues to tax, fiscal, and regulatory policies.
“I don’t pay much attention to those things,” Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville said Thursday. “And I can tell you that the ebb and flow of certain particular issues that we might work on from one session to the next might change that dramatically. Generally speaking, we probably stay around — it’s in the top 10 there, but I don’t watch that very closely.”
The CLA is a project of Conservative Political Action Coalition Foundation and the American Conservative Union Foundation. The rankings can be found here.
One of the votes that was perceived to be “liberal” was the passage of House Bill 1248 in 2022. It prohibited the petting of baby animals through a ban on petting tigers, bears and other dangerous exotic animals.
“ACU opposes this overreaching mandate which comes at the expense of good actors and prevents families from experiencing memorable baby animal encounters,” the American Conservative Union said.
Two other examples of “liberal” bills or amendments that passed last year:
House Bill 1140 “increases government dependency” by expanding post-partum Medicaid income eligibility coverage from 60 days to 12 months.
Senate Bill 245 “socializes the costs of sporting events” by authorizing a new bid fund and taxpayer funding via the Indiana Sports Corporation.
“ACU does not believe it is the proper role of government to fund sporting events and believes low tax rates and the free market is the best mechanism to attract investment as opposed to this bill’s central planning scheme,” the group said. “ACU opposes this cronyism which enriches select companies and sports teams while socializing the costs onto taxpayers.
The Indiana General Assembly did pass some “conservative” bills in 2022.
It was lauded for House Bill 1041, which banned transgender girls from participating in girls K-12 sports. And House Bill 1296 strengthened second amendment rights by eliminating a required license to carry a firearm.
The state’s abortion ban passed in special session “protected life” and Senate Bill 83 also “strengthened government integrity by ensuring public comment at school board meetings.”
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