Alabama State Senate

Alabama State Senate

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Voting by State Senators is Given Numerical Grade

A long-time political activist has reviewed the voting by Alabama State Senators in the 2004 Alabama Regular Session to determine which Senators were the most and least conservative. The project took several months and resulted in a numerical grade for each of the 35 Senators in the Alabama Legislature.

The numerical grade was on 30 key votes that covered bills to increase fees and taxes, bills of interest to social conservatives, and bills on education issues. The votes on the General Fund budget and the Education Budget were also included.

There are ten Republicans and twenty-five Democrats in the Alabama Senate.

Senator Harri Anne Smith, a Republican from Slocomb in southeast Alabama, received a numerical grade of 87 and was the most conservative State Senator.

Five other Republican Senators --- Hank Erwin, Bradley Byrne, Hap Myers, Jabo Waggoner, and Larry Dixon --- finished in places two through six, respectively.

The highest rated Democrat was Senator Phil Poole of Tuscaloosa in seventh place. Senator Tom Butler, another Democrat, finished in tenth place.

The remaining four Republican Senators finished as follows: Curt Lee in eighth place, Jack Biddle in ninth place, Steve French in eleventh place, and Del Marsh in fourteenth place. Senator Del Marsh missed 19 of these 30 votes and that adversely affected his numerical grade and relative place.
Senator Del Marsh received an F from the rating of the Alabama Christian Coalition, mainly because of his support for Don Sigeleman's Lottery and for pro gambling support.
The lowest score was a 3 and two people tied for the least conservative Senator --- Quinton T. Ross, Jr. of Montgomery and Henry "Hank" Sanders of Selma.

The next six least conservative Senators in order were Rodger Smitherman from Birmingham, Vivian Figures from Mobile, Sundra Escott from Birmingham, Jeff Enfinger from Huntsville, Roger Bedford from Russellville, and Lowell Barron from Fyffe.

Elbert Peters, a long-time political activist from Huntsville, said he undertook the project after observing the way members of the Legislature voted on various bills. Peters said, "As I watched the voting during the last regular session, I could not tell which Senators were the most and least conservative because there was a lack of consistency in their voting. A Senator I thought to be conservative sometimes voted for a tax or fee increase or did not vote conservative on another issue. I finally concluded that the only way I could get a handle on how Senators were voting was to do this project."

One Republican Senator, when told of his numerical grade and place relative to the other 34 Senators responded that "it obviously is a flawed scoring system." This Senator received a grade that indicated he was one of the least conservative Republicans.  However, he rated higher than most of the Democrats.

Three cloture votes and one veto override vote were included and a Senator was given credit for not voting on these four items. This was done because 21 YES votes are required for cloture and 18 Yes votes are required to override a governor's veto regardless of the number of Senators voting NO.

Peters said he believed his grading system is sound. "The problem with state government in Alabama is primarily the Legislature and this grading system reports this fact about as clearly as it is possible to do," stated Peters. "A significant majority of Alabama Legislators find it too easy to tax and spend other people's money. The Legislature is much less conservative than the voters in Alabama," he concluded.

The relative place and grade of each of the 35 Senators is shown below. Their party affiliation is indicated by an R for Republican and a D for Democrat.

Background info and record: Bradley Byrne
1 HarriAnne Smith
87
R
2 Henry (Hank) Erwin
73
R
3 Bradley Byrne           
70
R
4 Hap Myers
63
R
5 Jabo Waggoner
63
R
6 Larry Dixon
57
R
7 Phil Poole
53
D
8 Curt Lee
50
R
9 Jack Biddle
43
R
10 Tom Butler
37
D
11 Steve French
33
R
12 Ted Little
30
D
13 Tommy Ed Roberts
30
D
14 Del Marsh
27
R
15 Gary Tanner
27
D
16 Jimmy Holley
20
D
17 Larry Means
20
D
18 Bobby Denton
17
D
19 Gerald Dial
17
D
20 Zeb Little
17
D
21 Wendell Mitchell
13
D
22 Charles Steele Jr.
13
D
23 Pat Lindsey
10
D
24 Edward McClain
10
D
25 Hinton Mitchem
10
D
26 Myron Penn
10
D
27 Jim Preuitt
10
D
28 Lowell Barron
7
D
29 Roger Bedford
7
D
30 Jeff Enfinger
7
D
31 Sundra Escott
7
D
32 Vivian Figures
7
D
33 Roger Smitherman
7
D
34 Quinton Ross Jr.
3
D
35 Hank Sanders
3
D

The bills included in this project are listed below. The number to the right indicates the number of votes on each bill that were included in the grading.

HB42 Teacher Tenure - BIR, cloture, and final passage and NO was the correct vote – 3

HB43 Support Personnel Tenure - BIR, cloture, and final passage and NO was correct vote – 3

HB266 Nursing home bed tax - BIR, Amendment, and final passage and No was correct vote – 3

HB270 General Fund Budget - Final passage and No is correct vote – 1

HB308 Increase court fees - BIR and final passage and No was correct vote – 2

HB370 Increase fees levied by Agriculture and Industries - BIR and final passage and No was correct vote – 2

HB716 Increase taxes on tobacco products - BIR and final passage and No was correct vote – 2

HB815 Increase oil and gas severance tax - BIR and final passage and No was correct vote – 2

HB846 Remove tax exemption on road builders - BIR and final passage and No is correct vote – 2 

SB153 Allow display of Ten Commandments in state buildings - Final passage and Yes was correct vote – 1

SB223 Education Budget - Final passage and No was correct vote – 1

SB336 Allow alternative teachings on origin of man - Final passage and Yes was correct vote – 1

SB381 Bingo for Books - BIR, cloture, and final passage and No was correct vote – 3

SB399 Allow alcohol sales at Country Clubs in certain dry counties - BIR, final passage, and override. Correct vote was No – 3

SB433 Ban same sex marriages - Final passage and correct vote was Yes – 1

Total number of votes – 30


Addition Ratings of the Alabama Legislature - Christian Coalition

The Alabama Christian Coalition rated the Alabama Legislature on key votes during 1999 and 2000. To see how a member of the legislature voted and rated in terms of conservative values, see: Ratings of Alabama Legislature

The Vote of the Alabama Legislature for the largest Alabama Tax Increase in history, also called the Billion Dollar Bob Tax Increase Votes of Alabama Legislature For Amendment 1 Tax Increase of 2003

  • Contact Information of Alabama Legislature Alabama State Legislature
  • new.alabama.constitution.html
  • The Proposed Alabama Constitution New Alabama Constitution
  • Conservative Ranking of the Alabama State Senate Alabama State Senate
  • Conservative Rankings of Alabama State House Alabama Voting Record
  • Alabama Pay Raise - On March 20, 2007 the Alabama Legislature Voted Themselves a 62 Per Cent Pay, How they voted. Alabama Legislature Pay Raise
  • The Vote of the Alabama Legislature for the largest Alabama Tax Increase in history, also called the Billion Dollar Bob Tax Increase Votes of Alabama Legislature For Amendment 1 Tax Increase of 2003

    Alabama Christian Coalition Alabama Legislative Senate Ranking 2003 - 2006

    Alabama Christian Coalition Alabama Legislative House Ranking 2003 - 2006

  • Alabama Tax Tea Party Alabama Tea Party
  • Return to Home Page Definition of Conservative

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