Wyoming Liberty Index, 2015 General Session, 63rd Legislature

Welcome to the 2015 Wyoming Liberty Index.

The Bills

The 2015 Wyoming Liberty Index rates all bills in the House and Senate from the 2015 General Session, 63rd Legislature, on whether they support or inhibit liberty.

Legislators voted on 263 third readings in the House and 227 in the Senate. Out of 410 bills introduced, the Liberty Index showed that 67 liberty-supporting bills (16.3%) passed and 83 (20.2%) failed. Additionally, 44 liberty-inhibiting bills (10.7%) passed while 74 (18.0%) failed. This leaves 142 bills either rated neutral or not rated (34.6%).

In 2014, many legislators and observers complained that there were far too many bills introduced for a budget session. In 2014, we did indeed find a big increase, 25%, over 2012.

Because the 2014 session is a budget session, we compare the 2015 general session with the last general session, 2013.

 20132015IncreasePercentage increase
House Bill260246-14-5%
House Joint Resolution5116120%
Senate File163146-17-10%
Senate Joint Resolution176600%
Total429410-19-4%

From 2013 to 2015 we find a decrease of 19 bills, or 4%. A decrease in bills is generally a good thing.

We note the 600% increase in Senate resolutions. Taken out of context, that could be a frightening figure! This figure should point out the folly of doing statistical analyses on very small sample sizes. People analyzing data about Wyoming's population should keep this in mind.

This year, 194 bills, or 47%, made it into law.

Some good liberty bills that passed:

The liberty supporting bills that failed include:

Nineteen bills were marked as "Extremely Bad", the worst rating possible. Of those only two passed. The most liberty inhibiting bills that passed include:

The liberty inhibiting bills that failed include:

There is detailed information on, and the final status of, each bill. The detailed information includes comments from the raters on why they rated the bills as they did.

The Legislators

In addition, the voting pattern of each legislator was automatically calculated and given a liberty score. The higher the score, the better the legislator's agreement with the raters. A high score simply reflects a high level of aye votes on liberty-supporting bills and nay votes on liberty-inhibiting bills. Scores are only indicators of ordering, and arithmetic manipulations are meaningless. The percentage is simply out of the range from highest score (100%) to lowest (0%). Because the two houses vote on different bills, scores in the two houses are not comparable.

The Top Dozen liberty-supporting members in the House were (in order) Representatives Marti Halverson, Kendell Kroeker, Allen Jaggi, Tyler Lindholm, David Miller, Tom Reeder, Harlan Edmonds, Cheri Steinmetz, Scott Clem, Mark Jennings, Mark Baker and Jim Blackburn. Representative Halverson barely pipped Rep. Kroeker to win the title of "Most Liberty-Friendly Member of the House for 2015". Congratulations to Rep. Halverson and to Rep. Kroeker for a very close second. Also, compliments go to the six freshmen in the top dozen.

The House Needs Improvement Club consists of those members who most consistently voted to limit freedom. They are (in order from least bad to worst) Representatives Bob Nicholas, John Freeman, Mary Throne, Andy Schwartz, Charles Pelkey, Tom Walters, James Byrd and John Patton1(tied for 55), Steve Harshman, Elaine Harvey, Cathy Connolly, JoAnn Dayton, and "Dr. No". Since "Dr. No" is a construct, freshman JoAnn Dayton has earned the title of "Most Liberty-Hostile Member of the House for 2015".

The top performing House Democrat is House Minority Whip Ken Esquibel, ranked 26th. The top performing Republican is Marti Halverson.

The Top Half-Dozen liberty-supporting members in the Senate were (in order) Senators Cale Case, Larry Hicks, Curt Meier, and a tie between Leland Christensen and Ogden Driskell, and Bruce Burns. For as long as we have been rating the Senate, Senator Cale Case has come out on top by a wide margin. This year, in a surprise, Senator Hicks earned a very close second place. Senator Case has once again earned the title of the "Most Liberty-Friendly Member of the Senate for 2015". Kudos yet again to Senator Case, and kudos to Senator Hicks!

The Senate Needs Improvement Club are those members who most consistently voted to limit freedom. They are (in order from least bad to worst) Senators John Hastert, and Michael von Flatern, tied for 26th place, "Dr. No", Bernadine Craft, Floyd Esquibel, and Chris Rothfuss. Chris Rothfuss has earned the title of "Most Liberty-Hostile Member of the Senate for 2015". Only one Republican, Senator von Flatern, made it into the Need Improvement Club.

Among Senate Democrats, Senate Minority Caucus Chairman John Hastert did best, ranking at 27. Cale Case, as usual, won the top Republican performer title.

There is detailed information on each legislator.

The 2015 Wyoming House Leadership

RepresentativeTitleRankRD
Rosie BergerHouse Majority Floor Leader4040 
Kermit BrownSpeaker of the House2828 
James ByrdHouse Minority Caucus Chairman55 55
Ken EsquibelHouse Minority Whip26 26
Hans HuntHouse Majority Whip2121 
Tim StubsonHouse Speaker Pro Tempore3232 
Mary ThroneHouse Minority Floor Leader51 51
Average 363044

The 2015 Wyoming House Index

This table shows the weighted liberty score and weighted liberty percentage for each representative.

NameParDistDistrict LocationWeighted ScoreWeighted PercentWeighted Rank
Marti HalversonR22Lincoln/Sublette/Teton139100.0%1
Kendell KroekerR35Natrona13798.8%2
Allen JaggiR19Uinta11485.5%3
Tyler LindholmR1Crook/Weston11183.7%4
David MillerR55Fremont10781.4%5
Tom ReederR58Natrona10680.8%6
Harlan EdmondsR12Laramie10177.9%7
Cheri SteinmetzR5Goshen9876.2%8
Scott ClemR31Campbell9775.6%9
Mark JenningsR30Sheridan9675.0%10
Mark BakerR48Sweetwater9574.4%11
Jim BlackburnR42Laramie9172.1%12
Garry PiiparinenR49Uinta8870.3%13
Bunky LoucksR59Natrona8669.2%14
Nathan WintersR28Big Horn/Hot Springs/Fremont/Park8669.2%14
Gerald GayR36Natrona8568.6%16
Roy EdwardsR53Campbell8367.4%17
Robert McKimR21Lincoln7462.2%18
Jim AllenR33Fremont6858.7%19
Eric BarlowR3Campbell/Converse6657.6%20
Hans HuntR2Niobrara/Weston/Goshen6154.7%21
Lloyd LarsenR54Fremont6054.1%22
Glenn MonizR46Albany4746.5%23
Mike GreearR27Big Horn/Washakie4645.9%24
Dan LaursenR25Park4143.0%25
Ken EsquibelD41Laramie3740.7%26
Sue WilsonR7Laramie3740.7%26
Kermit BrownR14Albany3338.4%28
Donald Burkhart, JrR15Carbon3237.8%29
John EklundR10Laramie/Goshen3237.8%29
Fred BaldwinR18Lincoln/Sweetwater/Uinta3137.2%31
Tim StubsonR56Natrona3036.6%32
Albert SommersR20Sublette2835.5%33
Stan BlakeD39Sweetwater2835.5%33
Jerry PaxtonR47Carbon/Albany/Sweetwater2734.9%35
Dan ZwonitzerR43Laramie2533.7%36
Richard CannadyR6Converse2332.6%37
Norine KasperikR32Campbell2232.0%38
Samuel KroneR24Park2232.0%38
Rosie BergerR51Sheridan2131.4%40
David NorthrupR50Park2030.8%41
Rita CampbellR34Fremont2030.8%41
Ruth PetroffR16Teton1930.2%43
Bill PownallR52Campbell1829.7%44
David ZwonitzerR9Laramie1729.1%45
Dan KirkbrideR4Platte/Converse1628.5%46
Thomas LockhartR57Natrona1628.5%46
Michael MaddenR40Johnson/Sheridan1326.7%48
Bob NicholasR8Laramie1226.2%49
John FreemanD60Sweetwater1025.0%50
Mary ThroneD11Laramie723.3%51
Andy SchwartzD23Teton622.7%52
Charles PelkeyD45Albany421.5%53
Tom WaltersR38Natrona421.5%53
James ByrdD44Laramie220.3%55
John PattonR29Sheridan220.3%55
Steve HarshmanR37Natrona-118.6%57
Elaine HarveyR26Big Horn/Park-317.4%58
Cathy ConnollyD13Albany-715.1%59
JoAnn DaytonD17Sweetwater-188.7%60
"Dr. No"   -330.0%61

The 2015 Wyoming Senate Leadership

SenatorTitleRankRD
Eli BeboutSenate Majority Floor Leader1212 
Bernadine CraftSenate Minority Whip29 29
John HastertSenate Minority Caucus Chairman26 26
Phil NicholasPresident of the Senate1616 
Drew PerkinsSenate Vice President1414 
Chris RothfussSenate Minority Floor Leader31 31
Average 211429

The 2015 Wyoming Senate Index

This table shows the weighted liberty score and weighted liberty percentage for each senator.

NameParDistDistrict LocationWeighted ScoreWeighted PercentWeighted Rank
Cale CaseR25Fremont66100.0%1
Larry HicksR11Albany/Carbon/Sweetwater6599.0%2
Curt MeierR3Goshen/Niobrara/Weston5185.4%3
Leland ChristensenR17Teton4478.6%4
Ogden DriskillR1Crook/Campbell/Weston4478.6%4
Bruce BurnsR21Sheridan4377.7%6
Gerald GeisR20Big Horn/Fremont/Hot Springs/Park/Washakie3771.8%7
Charles ScottR30Natrona3670.9%8
R. Ray PetersonR19Big Horn/Park3569.9%9
Dan DockstaderR16Lincoln/Sublette/Teton3166.0%10
Dave KinskeyR22Sheridan/Johnson2964.1%11
Eli BeboutR26Fremont2762.1%12
Jim L. Anderson (SD28)R28Natrona2156.3%13
Drew PerkinsR29Natrona1954.4%14
Paul BarnardR15Uinta1752.4%15
Phil NicholasR10Albany1550.5%16
Stan CooperR14Lincoln/Sublette/Sweetwater/Uinta1449.5%17
Tony RossR4Laramie1348.5%18
Stephan PappasR7Laramie1045.6%19
Wayne JohnsonR6Laramie/Goshen843.7%20
Bill LandenR27Natrona540.8%21
Jeff WasserburgerR23Campbell/Converse-135.0%22
Fred EmerichR5Laramie-234.0%23
Henry H.R. "Hank" CoeR18Park-630.1%24
Jim D. Anderson (SD02)R2Converse/Platte-630.1%24
John HastertD13Sweetwater-828.2%26
Michael Von FlaternR24Campbell-828.2%26
"Dr. No"   -1620.4%28
Bernadine CraftD12Sweetwater-1917.5%29
Floyd EsquibelD8Laramie-2214.6%30
Chris RothfussD9Albany-370.0%31

Excused, Absent and Conflicts

Since 2013, we have provided Excused, Absent and Conflict totals for each member on the Results tab of the spreadsheet. These are totals of third reading votes (not days) for which the member was excused, absent or had a conflict.

The House, with 184 excused votes, outstrips the Senate, with 147. However, when you factor in the larger size of the House, the House looks better. Leading the House are John Patton1, with 91 excused absences, and Nathan Winters, with 22. Ogden Driskill leads the Senate with 34, and Curt Meier follows with a close second, at 33.

Being a leader in this field is not necessarily a bad thing. Since a failure to vote is often equivalent to a no vote, these absences may have improved these legislators' scores.

More Information

The 2015 Index background information is available:

1. As Mr. Patton was ill through much of the session, and died shortly after the session ended, we recommend you take his ranking with even more skepticism than usual.

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