ELM Action Fund 2015-2016 Legislative Scorecard
The Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund is pleased to release our legislative scorecard for the 2015-2016 session.
The ELM Action Fund seeks to raise the visibility of environmental issues and hold our elected officials accountable. We believe that votes matter – and while no scorecard can perfectly reflect each legislator’s record, we have done our best by scoring both recorded votes and other actions to present a fair picture. The ELM Action Fund is non-partisan. We recognize the leadership of both Democratic and Republican legislators, based on voting records, not party affiliation.
The legislature took up a number of critical environmental issues this session—some made it over the finish line and for others we will need to redouble our efforts next session. The actions legislators took (or put off) on energy and climate change, land use and development, transportation choices, and the environmental budget, will shape our future for years to come.
This scorecard reflects action on statewide environmental issues. While many legislators push for local environmental projects that would benefit their districts, one of the responsibilities of being a state legislator is to advance policies that would benefit the Commonwealth as a whole. We, therefore, don’t score or give extra credit for actions that are exclusively local in nature.
One critical area reflected in this scorecard is legislative support for the budgets of our environmental agencies. The Commonwealth currently spends less than 1% of its overall state budget on environmental protection. This scorecard shows which legislators voted for or against adequate funding to allow state environmental agencies to perform their critical functions. No issue is more important. As Vice President Joe Biden once said, “Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.”
We reviewed all recorded votes from the 2015-16 session and included in the scorecard important conservation votes, particularly those that were not unanimous, so as to differentiate legislators. The votes in the scorecard cover a range of environmental issues, including several of the ELM Action Fund’s priority issues.
Overall scores are capped at 100%. There are three components to the scores:
- Base score - Determined by votes on key environmental issues. A perfect voting score resulted in a 95.
- Bonus points - To score above 95, legislators needed to do more than just cast votes. Bonus points were awarded for actions like filing pro-environment legislation and amendments that have important statewide environmental implications, as well as signing onto pro-environment Dear Colleague letters supported by the ELM Action Fund.
- Point deductions - Points were deducted for filing anti-environment legislation and amendments.
Click the below links to see lists of anti-environment actions of statewide importance for which we deducted points.
We highlight the following legislators for their leadership this session. We thank them for their efforts and urge them to continue their excellent work advocating for environmental protection.
ELM Priority Legislation – Unfinished Business
See bills ELM prioritized during the 2015-16 session. Thank you to the lead sponsors and we look forward to working to pass these bills in the next session.
Click here to see the ELM 2013-2014 Legislative Scorecard