By Aishwarya Rajan
CALIFORNIA – ACLU California Action this week released its annual scorecard for 2019-2020 state lawmakers related to their votes on civil liberty issues.
The ACLU California Action organization is composed of members and donors affiliated with a local chapter or county. Their testimonies and votes are recorded as a baseline to reflect the alignment of a state legislator’s votes and values on specific issues.
These civil issues include voting rights, education equity, immigrant rights, reproductive justice and gender equity, and LGBTQI rights.
The collaboration of three affiliates in the state of California: Northern California, Southern California, San Diego and Imperial Counties, are used to create a scorecard which is meant to inform and engage communities to hold legislators accountable for their voting behavior.
As the Director of Legislative Affairs for the ACLU of California, Kevin Baker pointed out, “As the Legislature begins to debate new policy and budget proposals for the 2021-2022 session, it is important that Californians know where their legislators stand on the key issues that matter to vote.”
The California State Legislators were evaluated based on their votes casted towards 350 bills during the legislative session. There were some bills that were counted multiple times, as they were applicable to different issues.
For this reason, bill scoring and the amount evaluated varied between the Assembly and Senate, with a final tally of 188 in the Assembly and 173 scored in the Senate. Within the eight issues evaluated, only the five civil liberty issues were used when evaluating the votes of a lawmaker.
The ACLU California Action’s 2020 legislative scorecard was designed to “champion” legislators whose votes reflected those of the ACLU organization’s affiliates’ votes as a body.
Their scorecard applauded legislators who embraced the ACLU mission to “uphold freedom, advance equity and justice, and ameliorate historic and systemic discrimination in all of its work.”
“We need leaders who will continue to fight for racial justice and economic equity, and protect the civil rights and liberties of all Californians,” remarked Director Kevin Baker.
Of the 120 state legislators of California, 14 were “Champions.” They had ‘championed’ the ACLU mission by voting 100 percent in line with the ACLU affiliates. These Champions received perfect scores in their voting habits, specific to civil liberties.
The following state legislators were recognized as the ACLU California Action’s Civil Liberties Champions for their efforts to uphold values incorporated in civil liberties:
- Steven Bradford – Gardena (SD 35)
- Maria Elena Durazo – Los Angeles (SD 24)
- Lena Gonzalez – Long Beach (SD 33)
- Bob Hertzberg – Van Nuys (SD 18)
- Connie Leyva – Chino (SD 20)
- Holly Mitchell – Los Angeles (SD 30)*
- Nancy Skinner – Berkeley (SD 9)
- Scott Wiener – San Francisco (SD 11)
- Rob Bonta – Alameda (AD 18)
- Ash Kalra – San Jose (AD 27)
- Sydney Kamlager – Los Angeles (AD 54)
- Mark Stone – Scotts Valley (AD 29)
- Shirley Weber – San Diego (AD 79)*
- Buffy Wicks – Oakland (AD 15)
These 14 legislators, alongside an additional 14 state legislators, coined with the name “Advocates” for scoring 90-99 percent in line with ACLU values, encompassed the ACLU California Action Organization’s quest to “create a more equitable, free, and inclusive California.”
The 2019-2021 Champions and Advocates are “leaders,” said the ACLU, who have impacted bills of civil liberties and civil rights in California. They have responded to evaluations and feedback from the ACLU prior to affiliates support, sponsorship, and opposition of a bill based on testimonies and writings during committee hearings.
Baker further commended these select California state legislators stating, “There is a wide range of viewpoints across political parties, and there are big differences between our civil liberties champions and other lawmakers.”
To view the complete ACLU California Action organization’s scorecard visit scorecard.aclucaaction.org.
Aishwarya Rajan is a first year Political Science Public Service major and Cognitive Science major at the University of California Davis. Her various experiences living in her hometown in Danville, California, have shaped her passions to deliver justice through a career in law.
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