GOAL Legislature/Candidate Ratings
GOAL has received complaints from gun owners concerning our grading system of legislators. Apparently some people have found an archived web page, listing grades issued prior to a past election. Our current legislator grading page (http://goal.org/candidate-ratings.html) is blank, and has been for some time. This page reflects the current status. No legislator currently has a grade for this session.
The old grading pages that some have found may contain grades given in August 2016, or maybe even from 2014. Those grades are reflective of legislative actions four to six years ago. While we certainly thank those people who supported us back then, depending on the individual legislator, it may not reflect the next grading cycle.
It has been GOAL’s longstanding policy to only issue grades after the current legislative session so that our members can get an accurate representation of what has transpired to date. There are some that have suggested we should continually change grades based on the actions as they happen. We are not aware of any organization that grades in this manner, as it is unmanageable.
As to how we grade legislators, the current system is as follows:
Current sitting legislators – Current legislators are graded after their two-year legislative session with a letter grade, A-B-C, etc. Sitting legislators are NOT given surveys or questionnaires. These grades are based on a variety of things including roll call votes, committee actions, bills sponsored/co-sponsored, and anything else we can pull information from. Years ago GOAL only considered roll call votes for grades, but the legislature started to pass everything under non-roll call actions (voice votes).
New Candidates – These are people new to whatever seat they are running for and have likely never held any office that GOAL would have a track record for. The new folks are allowed to fill out a questionnaire. With the results of the questionnaire, GOAL issues them a percentage grade (100%, 90%, etc.). We do this to provide an obvious distinction between a proven track record and what is simply answered on a questionnaire. This is important because in the past we have had people fill out a great one and then turn a 180 once in office. We have also had people fill out a poor one and turn out to be good for our cause.
The current legislative session ends July 31, 2018. We expect to issue grades for the upcoming election in August 2018. While we cannot predict what the last few months will bring, it is likely that many legislators will not be pleased with their upcoming grades.