Americans for Prosperity-Pennsylvania has released its midsession report card for the Legislature’s 2019-20 session, and the document shows just how divided the state’s lower chamber actually is.
The report card grades the state’s lawmakers by how they voted on 21 bills that lawmakers have taken up so far this session. Of the bills, 20 are on topics AFP-Pennsylvania supports, such as criminal justice reforms, changes to charter schools and repealing regulations the organization considers burdensome. The other bill on the report card regards requiring a merit selection process to fill vacant appellate and state Supreme Court vacancies, which the group opposes.
Among the specific bills graded were the REINS Act, which requires lawmakers to ratify any state regulation that would have an impact of $1 million or more on the state, and the Taxpayer Protection Act, which seeks to limit spending increases. The three Senate bills that make up Justice Reinvestment Initiative 2 were also included.
Lawmakers earned points for each yes for on AFP backed bills or no vote on opposed legislation. With bonus points for sponsoring bills, lawmakers could receive scores exceeding 100 percent. The three bills that make up the Justice Reinvestment Initiative are also included.
In the 203-member state House of Representatives, 92 members earned an A or an A-plus. AFP-Pennsylvania issued failing grades to 100.
House lawmakers with the highest score were state Reps. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, Jim Marshall, R-Big Beaver Borough, Eric Nelson, R-Hempfield, Greg Rothman, R-Camp Hill, and House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Marshall Township. They each scored at 107 percent.
State Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell received the lowest score at 14 percent. The Philadelphia Democrat resigned last month after facing charges of stealing more than $500,000 from a nonprofit organization. State Reps. Mary Jo Daley, D-Conshohocken, Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Philadelphia, Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, and Mary Louise Isaacson, D-Philadelphia, all scored a point higher than Johnson-Harrell.
Ashley Klingensmith, AFP-Pennsylvania’s director, said the scorecard helps residents and taxpayers learn how their elected representatives stand on key issues that will help Pennsylvanians improve their lives.
“We’re partnering with diverse coalitions and finding common ground with principled lawmakers of both parties to meaningfully advance policies proven to help every person rise, making Pennsylvania an even better place in which to live, work and raise a family,” she said.
In the 50-seat state Senate, the chasm is far narrower. There were 22 senators who received scores of 100 percent or higher, with another 23 earning grades of at least 83 percent.
State Sen. John DiSanto, R-New Bloomfield, earned the highest score at 117 percent, three points higher than both state Sens. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township, and Camera Bartolotta, R-Monongahela.
With scores of 71 percent each, state Sens. Wayne Fontana, D-Pittsburgh, Arthur Haywood, D-Philadelphia, Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia, and Katie Muth, D-Royersford, received the group’s lowest grades, a D, in the Senate.