Kansas freedom index introduced

From Kansas Policy Institute. For more information and a radio interview, see Kansas freedom scorecard released.

Economic Freedom Tracker For Kansas Legislature Expands To Include Education Freedom 

Support of Freedom About More Than Politics, IDs Role of Government and Freedom of Citizens

May 15, 2013 – Wichita – In the continuation of a project started last year, Kansas Policy Institute released a new scorecard tracking votes from the 2013 legislative session. This year’sKansas Freedom Index is operated solely by KPI and adds “education freedom” to the bills being tracked. The Kansas Freedom Index takes a broad look at voting records and establishes how supportive state legislators are regarding economic and education freedom, limited government and individual liberty in the 2013 session.

The Index is intended to provide educational information to the public about broad economic and education freedom issues that are important to the citizens of our State.  It is the product of nonpartisan analysis, study, and research and is not intended to directly or indirectly endorse or oppose any candidate for public office.

“An informed citizenry is an essential element of maintaining a free society.  Having a deeper understanding of how legislation impacts education freedom, economic freedom and the constitutional principles of individual liberty and limited government allows citizens to better understand the known and often unknown consequences of legislative issues,” said KPI president Dave Trabert.”

Last year’s scorecard only tracked economic freedom issues, but the 2013 iteration includes education freedom – a vote in favor of education freedom would create a more student-focused public education system, as compared to legislation that is primarily designed for institutional benefit or for the adults working in public education.  Education freedom was added because it is so closely linked to economic freedom and the opportunity for success in the economy upon graduation.

Also new this year, KPI will be announcing the potential inclusion of bills in the scorecard throughout the session. While a specific score will not be offered until final action has been taken (primarily due to potential changes via amendments), KPI will be tracking the remainder of the legislative session in “real-time.”

Trabert continued, “Our 2012 index made clear that support of economic freedom isn’t an issue of political affiliation – the highest and lowest score in the Senate were both held by Republicans. The 2013 results bear out the same as a wide range of scores exists within both parties.”

Trabert concluded, “Too often votes come down to parochial or personal issues and the idea of freedom is left on the legislature’s cutting room floor. Hopefully, the Kansas Freedom Index can start to recalibrate citizens and legislators towards supporting the freedoms of everyday Kansans and not be driven by politics.”

Background and the 2013 Kansas Freedom Index by the numbers:
45 pieces of legislation are rated thus far with 179 bills listed as “Pending” should they come to the floor of either chamber for consideration.

31 Senate votes are currently included with a range of ±49 and a 12.2 average score. Sens. Dennis Pyle and Caryn Tyson are currently the senators most supportive of freedom with 35 out of a possible 49 points while Sen. Tom Holland currently ranks the lowest with -37 points, out of a possible -49.

The House of Representatives index currently includes 33 votes with a possible score of ±46 and an average score of 5.6.  Four members of the House are tied as the most supportive (Reps. DeGraaf, Grosserode, Howell, and Powell) with 36 points out of a possible 46 and Rep. Kathy Wolfe-Moore has demonstrated the least support for economic and education freedom with a score of -28, out of a possible -46.

A positive cumulative score indicates that a legislator generally supported economic and education freedom, while a negative cumulative score indicates that a legislator was generally opposed.   A score of zero indicates that a legislator was generally neutral.  The cumulative score only pertains to the specific votes included in the Kansas Freedom Index and should not be interpreted otherwise.  A different set of issues and/or a different set of circumstances could result in different cumulative scores.