Republicans Edge Democrats In Overall Effectiveness
Democratic Senator Mimi Stewart was named one of the United States’ most effective legislators this week by the bipartisan national organization FiscalNote, as well as the most effective legislator in New Mexico.
Stewart was first appointed to the chamber in 2014 to replace Tim Keller, who was elected to state auditor. Stewart served in the New Mexico House of Representatives from 1994 to 2015. She is currently chairwoman of the Legislative Education Study Committee.
FiscalNote, a Washington D.C.-based company that seeks to improve the way organizations engage with government, employs a Legislative Effectiveness Score determined by the company’s proprietary government relationship management platform.
The Legislative Effectiveness Score measures how successful a legislator is at sponsoring and steering legislation through each important stage of the legislative process, all the way through enactment.
In a typical year in the U.S., between 120,000 to 150,000 pieces of legislation are introduced at the state level. That compares to 10,000 to 15,000 at the federal level.
“At federal level, most bills don’t become law,” added Vladimir Eidelman, FiscalNote vice president of research. “At the state level, they’re very active. State legislatures pass 30 to 40 percent of the legislation they introduce, so organizations need to figure out very quickly if something is relevant or not. And whether they need to fly over to a state capitol to engage someone.”
The company’s proprietary algorithm weights 12 factors for each individual, including bills sponsored, bills out of committee, bills to the floor and bills enacted, with each stage receiving more importance. A legislator’s score for each stage is further weighted by whether the bill is substantive (i.e., attempts meaningful change) or non-substantive (e.g., a resolution, memorial or commendation) as well as the legislator’s performance relative to other members of the chamber.
Legislators are also categorized by ideology. More Republicans rated high in overall effectiveness than Democrats. (See the rest of the United States’ most effective legislators.)
Values for each factor are then normalized and used to rank multiple legislators as well as identify a percentile of effectiveness. State legislators are compared to their peers within their own state and chamber, and not to legislators from other states.
“State legislatures are taking a much larger role in policy setting for heavily-regulated industries, and in some cases significantly diverge from federal lawmakers,” said Tim Hwang, FiscalNote CEO. “For companies and groups operating in these sectors, engaging the most influential lawmakers across a number of key states is even more essential to achieving nationwide legislative and regulatory goals.”
Legislators can be scored for overall effectiveness as well as on specific subject areas. For subject scores, only bills related to that topic are considered. Further, legislators can be scored on effectiveness across all legislative sessions in which they’ve served or just for individual sessions. For cumulative scores, the methodology favors legislators with long tenures of service.