For four decades, the American Conservative Union has graded members of Congress on how closely they hew to the ACU's agenda of limited government, free markets, personal freedom and traditional values. Now the ACU, headed by long-time Florida GOP leader Al Cardenas of Miami, is grading legislatures, including Florida, the nation's biggest battleground state.
"Wow!" Cardenas said when the grades were tallied on Florida lawmakers for their votes on 14 key bills in the 2011 session. A total of 14 senators and 56 House members received perfect 100 percent ratings in the ACU's first Florida scorecard, which can be found at www.conservative.org. Florida is the fourth ACU-rated state Legislature. The others are Virginia, Nevada and Ohio, and next up is North Carolina. "We're going to focus first on battleground states," Cardenas said.
The issues in the vote matrix included government spending caps, abortion restrictions, expansion of school vouchers and charter schools and the red light camera repeal bill, which passed the House by a two-vote margin but never reached the Senate floor. Also listed in the ACU report are "true liberals," the 15 Democratic lawmakers who scored a perfect zero in the group's scorecard.
-- Steve Bousquet