May 20, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

2023 Freedom Index shows liberty is not a red or blue issue

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Seventy-three of the 165 Kansas House and Senate members scored better than 85% on the 2023 Kansas Freedom Index, including Wyandotte County Democrat Marvin Robinson. The annual index measures legislators’ commitment to educational and economic freedom, individual liberty, and limited government.

“Call it truth in advertising if you want but the Kansas Freedom Index makes clear that what’s promised by a legislator doesn’t always match how they actually vote. That isn’t a partisan political comment but an illustration of where folks stand on concrete policy. The question has been, and remains, ‘do our elected officials trust people to make their own decisions or do they think government should make decisions for individual Kansans.

“A vote in support of lower taxes or in favor of an ESA isn’t just about the policy in front of you. Its about believing in the capacity of each Kansan to make decisions for themselves. The annual KFI is our best attempt to put numbers onto how strongly legislators believe in limiting or expanding liberty for families.”

The 2023 index scored votes on 21 bills in the House and 19 bills in the Senate.  The scoring methodology ranks legislators from 0% (always voting against freedom issues) to 100% (always voting for freedom).  A 50% score is considered neutral, meaning a legislator votes against freedom as often as in favor.

Franko says that in addition to Robinson’s high score, there are other indications that votes for economic freedom and personal liberty are not simple matters of Team Red vs. Team Blue.

“There’s a Republican senator at 51% while one of their Democrat colleagues scored a 49%. Again, it isn’t about Red v. Blue. Its about a belief in economic freedom and the liberty to pursue your own version of the American Dream.”

The range of scores is also telling.  House scores for Republicans range from 95% (Brett Fairchild) to 58% (David Younger, Mark Schreiber, and Samantha Poetter Parshall), while Democrats other than Robinson go from 36% (Louis Ruiz) to just 15% (Virgil Weigel).

Senate scores are also widely spread.  The Republican high score goes to Kelly Warren at 96% down to just 26% for John Doll.  Three Democrats (Jeff Pittman, David Haley, and Oletha Faust-Goudeau) had higher scores than Doll.  Pittman was the high score at 49% and Cindy Holscher is at the bottom with 11%.

Senator Dennis Pyle traditionally had scores in the high 70% range when he was a Republican, but this year he is just at 44% as an Independent.

Lifetime Kansas Freedom Index

KPI, which owns The Sentinel, has published the freedom index since 2012.  A Lifetime Freedom Index was added in 2015 for lawmakers who have served at least two legislative sessions since 2012.

Lance Neely has the highest lifetime score in the House, at 94%, followed by five representatives tied at 93% (Chris Croft, Stephen Owens, Avery Anderson, Emil Bergquist, and Paul Waggoner).  The five best in the Senate are Kellie Warren (94%), Renee Erickson (93%), Michael Fagg (92%), Mike Thompson (91%), and Beverly Gossage (89%).

The Kansas Freedom Index is intended to provide educational information to the public about broad economic and education 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.

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