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Presenting the 2013 Freedom Scorecard (Updated)

It's that moment you've all been waiting for -- the full unveiling of AAI's 2013 Freedom Scorecard!

The report is the most thorough of its kind to ever be produced in the state of Arkansas, scoring over 100 bills from last year's legislative session.

Here's an excerpt from the report:

The Advance Arkansas Institute and Conduit for Commerce are pleased to present this study of the 2013 voting records of legislators serving in the Arkansas General Assembly. Arkansas’s 2013 Freedom Scorecard discloses and rates legislative votes on roughly 100 notable bills of the 89th General Assembly. Notability, of course, is in the eye of the beholder; in this case, the beholders are the authors and producers of the study. Although it is not the role of AAI or CFC to endorse (or condemn) the performance of any particular legislator, we believe that the data illuminate how the votes of some legislators advanced the well-being of Arkansas citizens, while the votes of other legislators diminished it.

Our study ranked the voting records of legislators by totaling up the subscores they earned to derive a final score. That final score is a quick-and-dirty measure of each legislator’s commitment to liberty and good government. That score is dependent on a variety of subscores -- we measured, through their votes on various bills, legislators’ fidelity to a dozen different values: clean elections, criminal justice, education reform, economic freedom, Obamacare and health care reform, integrity in government, lawsuit reform, personal liberty, anti-cronyism, Second Amendment rights, smaller government, and tax relief. Each of those dozen values created a separate subscore for each legislator, which we represent as percentages.

AAI/CFC recognized several groups of legislators for their commitments to advancing freedom in Arkansas: the two legislators with the highest overall scores in each chamber were recognized as "Best Friends of Freedom." The top-tier of scorers in each chamber were recognized as "Friends of Freedom." Legislators who withstood immense pressure and voted against expanding Medicaid were recognized with the Calvin Coolidge Award. And finally, two legislators were recognized as "Legislator of the Year" (one for each chamber of the legislature) for their work in sponsoring and passing important legislation.

To see how your legislators fared, click here.

[A brief 4/15/14 update on technical corrections from Alex Cartwright, coauthor of the report, follows:

Recently, two different public officials alerted us about a few minor errors in our 2013 Freedom Scorecard. We did a top-to-bottom review and discovered that legislators’ votes had been mistranscribed in a few instances. We then recalculated the final scores with corrected data.

The point of the scorecard is to use recorded votes in order to compare legislators to one another in a relative way. When we recalculated the scores, we found that legislators' scores had not changed materially: our recalculation resulted in changes that amounted, in most cases, to moving one point up or down on what is approximately a 100-point scale. (Of course, depending on one’s perspective, a small change might seem large, especially with respect to our subscores. For instance, we took five House votes into account for our “Lawsuit Reform” subscore. Changing one vote of those five votes, for instance, could change a 60% subscore to a 40% subscore or an 80% subscore. To repeat, that is the kind of subscore change one might expect when changing one vote.)

We apologize for our error. The revised scorecard has been posted above.]

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