Consumer Federation of California Releases 2007 Scorecard for Legislators

CONTACT: Richard Holober (650) 375-7843, Zack Kaldveer (650) 375-7846

Click here to read report.

SAN MATEO – JULY 25 – The Consumer Federation of California released
today its 2007 Scorecard for State Lawmakers. Legislators were rated by
their key votes on consumer rights bills. State Assembly members and
Senators were evaluated on a range of issues, including financial
privacy, health care reform, cell phone customer rights, food safety,
truth in advertising, and consumer product safety standards.  

Average scores were 60 percent in the Senate and 61 percent in the Assembly.
The scorecard highlighted a deep ideological split between the two
parties when it comes to consumer rights protections. Assembly
Democrats had an average score of 92 percent, with Senate Democrats
averaging 87 percent. Assembly Republicans took the side of consumers
only 14 percent of the time, and Senate Republicans scored slightly
better with 15 percent. In all, 12 Senate Democrats scored 100 percent
and another 28 Democrats in the Assembly earned a perfect score. In
contrast, 17 of the 32 Republicans in the Assembly scored 11 percent or
less as did seven of the 15 Republicans in the Senate.

Not all Democratic lawmakers received passing grades. An informal
caucus of corporate Democrats in the Senate routinely joined their
Republican colleagues to kill consumer bills. Corporate Democrats in
the Assembly saw their influence decline in 2007. Still, eight Assembly
Democrats and five Senate Democrats received grades of 67 percent or

"The scorecard should help Californians evaluate how their lawmakers
voted on consumer protection bills that affect our pocketbooks but get
little news coverage." said Richard Holober, Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of California.

Lawmakers were graded on legislative proposals that the CFC either
sponsored or supported. A number of substantive floor votes and
committee votes that decided the fate of some bills were assessed.
Scores reflect the percentage of votes cast in favor of consumers.
These scores include votes cast and non-votes by members present at the
time the vote was cast. This practice, known as "taking a walk" is a
ploy some lawmakers use to avoid a recorded vote while actually
affecting the outcome of legislation. 

The Governor’s record on consumer protection issues is not included in
the scorecard.  Many of the strongest pro-consumer bills are killed in
the legislature. Only a limited number reach his desk. Therefore,
grading the Governor on those bills that do survive would not be a
meaningful comparison with the scores assigned to legislators.  

Consumer Federation of California is a non-profit organization that has fought for consumer rights since 1960.