New Mexico think tank releases ‘Freedom Index’ rating lawmakers’ votes
An Albuquerque-based free-market think tank has released its legislative report card that grades lawmakers for their positions on certain bills during the 2022 session, which ended last month.
The Rio Grande Foundation’s “Freedom Index” is meant to “hold New Mexico legislators accountable for their stances” on legislation that its says impacts individual freedom and liberty.
The think tank analyzed select bills and gave scores on a scale of -8 to +8.
“-8 is reserved for the most liberty-depriving legislation [and] +8 is given for legislation considered to be among the best of advancing freedom,” according to the foundation. “Legislators are then scored based strictly on their voting record.”
In the 2022 session, the most impactful vote (-8) was on Senate Bill 14, also known as the Clean Fuel Standard, which sought to establish reduction goals for carbon emissions. The bill passed the Senate on Feb. 3 but failed two weeks later in the House.
The “best bill” during the session was House Bill 163, according to the Rio Grande Foundation, which gave it a +4 rating. The legislation, which was passed by both chambers, totalled $400 million in tax cuts, including child tax credits, a Social Security tax exemption, and a gross receipts tax reduction.
State representatives who scored high marks on the Freedom Index include Republican Reps. Stefani Lord and Randall Pettigrew. Lord serves parts of the East Mountains of Albuquerque and scored a 45. Pettigrew represents Lea County and received a score of 43.
In the state Senate, Republican Sen. Craig Brandt of Rio Rancho scored 33, the highest rating in the chamber.
State Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, who represents parts of Albuquerque, scored -66, the lowest rating for any member of the Legislature. She told The Center Square that the Rio Grande Foundation’s rating “is meaningless to me.”
“My entire voting record reflects what is best for the public good, [because] we must protect our democracy, we need to protect our right to a healthy environment, and we must provide equitable opportunities for those in society who are pushed to the margins,” she said.
Lopez added that her values as a legislator are stewardship, equity and justice, and that it “appears that the bills selected and the weight assigned to them do not reflect those values.”
This article was originally posted on New Mexico think tank releases ‘Freedom Index’ rating lawmakers’ votes