The record of the Texas Senate during the 80th Session of the Texas Legislature can only be described as abysmal. Less than half the time could senators be counted on to stand up for taxpayers.
The Senate’s composite score was a 38.86. Breaking it down along party lines, Republicans scored a 48.46, while Democrats garnered a 21.39.
Unfortunately, the structure, rules and traditions of the Texas Senate work against the state’s taxpayers. While it is disappointing that no senator scored better than a “C,” that disappointment must be tempered in light of rules (and an institution) that are in grave need a change. Between blocker-bills and a contrived sense of congeniality, Texas’ taxpayers are poorly served by a Senate in which substantive debate is replaced by unanimous voice votes.
Members were scored on the votes they took; absences (excused or not) were not counted against their score. Where statements were placed in the Journal regarding intention to vote upon an absence, the scorecard reflected the statement. In instances where votes may have been wrongly tallied and a statement was noted in the Journal, the scorecard reflects the “corrected” position. Sponsoring key legislation (good or bad) gave legislators additional opportunities to improve or worsen their score as an extra credit or demerit.