June 21, 2019
New Mexico – When state lawmakers go to Santa Fe for the legislative session, New Mexicans expect their representatives and senators to work together to fix the state’s most pressing issues. But, are elected officials meeting the expectations of their constituents? Viante New Mexico has crafted a unique, nonpartisan scorecard to determine just that. Through transparency, New Mexicans can hold lawmakers accountable for showing up to work and addressing the state’s pressing issues in education, crime, and quality of life.
The 2019 New Mexico legislative session saw more than 1,300 bills introduced. Viante focuses on which of those bills impact education, crime, and quality of life. Over the last six months, Viante’s generationally and politically diverse board of directors have done the heavy lifting to unanimously identify 15 bills that measure a lawmaker’s effort to work towards common ground solutions. Five bills are selected per Viante focus area that illustrate a thoughtful, inclusive and data-driven approach to legislation.
In determining a lawmaker’s commitment to New Mexico and its improvement, Viante also considers their attendance. During the past session, the average legislator attendance score was a 90.4%. Out of 112 legislators, one had perfect attendance: Senator Mimi Stewart. Conversely, there were eight legislators with drastically low attendance rates, missing more than 97 votes. The lowest attendance rate was 42.2% with 295 missed votes. Viante considers all bills, memorials, and resolutions in calculating the presence score and notes whether the legislator casts a yes or no vote.
Viante combines the sponsorship of its 15 Focus Bills, with the way legislators voted on them, and how often they were present for floor votes, for a combined score that illustrates which legislators are showing up for the job and who is working to move the state forward. The results of the recently released 2019 Viante Scorecard show that 49% of legislators performed great or exceeded expectations. There were eight lawmakers that truly excelled: Rep. Abbas Akhil, Rep. Christine Chandler, Rep. Sheryl Stapleton, Rep. Gail Armstrong, Rep. Joy Garratt, Rep. Debra Sarinana, Rep. Elizabeth Thomson, and Rep. Jason Harper. Republicans and Democrats appear throughout the grading scale, with no favoritism illustrated to one political party over another.
“The 2019 legislative session had a flurry of activity and for everyday working New Mexicans, it can be difficult to understand what happened during those 60 days,” commented Viante’s Executive Director, Rhiannon Samuel. “Viante’s scorecard has been crafted with the utmost care and consideration by our dynamic board of directors to shed light on our state’s most pressing issues. The scorecard is a great tool to empower New Mexicans to engage with their elected officials and ensure they are making positive contributions to the betterment of New Mexico.”
For more information on the 2019 Scorecard and what membership to the organization entails, please visit VianteNM.org.