Environmental Advocates NY & EPL/Environmental Advocates: Scorecard Scoring

For more than 40 years, Environmental Advocates NY has issued memos in support of, or opposition to, bills that impact the environment. Environmental Advocates’ sister organization EPL/Environmental Advocates tracks lawmakers’ votes on these bills and publishes an annual Scorecard, a comprehensive look at legislators’ environmental voting records. Scorecard scores are based on two sets of criteria:

  • floor votes on bills memoed and rated by Environmental Advocates NY; and
  • support for Super Bills. 

SCORING SYSTEM DESCRIPTION

Floor Votes: Trees  & Smokestacks 

Environmental Advocates issues memos on environmental bills using a tree and smokestack rating system. Bills are rated according to their potential impact, either beneficial or detrimental, on New York’s environment.

The rating system is designed to place appropriate emphasis on each bill. Legislators can earn between 1 and 3 points for votes in support of bills rated as 1-, 2- or 3-tree bills. Likewise, legislators can earn between 1 and 3 points for votes against bills given a rating of 1, 2 or 3 smokestacks. Floor votes on all rated bills are tracked and totaled; weighted scores are then calculated for each legislator.

Legislators who miss votes on more than 20 percent of the environmental bills included in the Scorecard will receive a score of “incomplete” (I). Lawmakers who vote on 80 percent or more of these bills will be scored. Please note that incomplete scores will not be factored into house averages.

Most bill memos are issued when legislation first appears on a committee agenda. Position statements on bills rated by Environmental Advocates are distributed to lawmakers and posted to the Bill Memos section of our website at www.eany.org.

SUPER BILLS

Legislators’ scores will be affected by action on the priority Super Bills whether or not they receive a floor vote. The Super Bills are considered 3-tree bills for weighting purposes. 

The Super Bills are identified by the Green Panel which includes the leaders of more than a dozen of New York’s environmental organizations. The Green Panel reserves the right to add a Super Bill during the legislative session, or to remove a bill if it is no longer worthy of Super Bill status.

Legislators can earn points for Super Bills as follows:

Floor vote in favor. If a legislator votes for a Super Bill when it reaches the floor, the lawmaker will be recognized as having voted for a 3-tree bill.  

Becoming law. If a Super Bill is passed by both houses and is signed into law by the Governor, all legislators who voted for the bill will receive 2 additional bonus points. 

Budget action. If substantively similar language is included in the state budget that meets the stated goals of any one of the Super Bills, and is signed into law by the Governor, all legislators will receive full credit (3 points).

If a Super Bill does not receive a floor vote, lawmakers are still scored.

Legislators earn credit for supporting Super Bills as follows:

Co-sponsoring. Lawmakers will receive half credit (1.5 points for a 3-tree bill) for any Super Bills they sponsor or cosponsor. Environmental Advocates NY encourages legislators to immediately contact bill sponsors in order to receive cosponsorship credit in our scoring system. Those who request to be added as a cosponsor to a bill, but are not recognized as cosponsors, may earn credit if they forward a copy of the buck/blue slip to EPL/Environmental Advocates. 

Committee votes. Lawmakers will receive half credit (1.5 points for a 3-tree bill) if they vote in favor of a Super Bill in committee. All sitting members of a committee considering a Super Bill during session have the opportunity to receive points for their support. If a legislator sits on more than one committee considering a Super Bill, points will be assigned based on the lawmaker’s most recent action on the bill. A Super Bill cosponsor who fails to vote in favor of that bill in committee will not receive points.

Please note that these points are not cumulative with the exception of the bonus points that will be awarded in the event that a bill becomes law. Points will be assigned at the conclusion of the legislative session based on the last action on a Super Bill.

For example, if a legislator cosponsors a bill, and the bill passes in that house, points will be assigned only for the bill passed (3 points). However, if the bill is later signed by the Governor, 2 bonus points will be awarded (3 + 2 = 5). Legislators who do not act on the Super Bills will not receive points.

Environmental Advocates looks forward to working with you during this legislative session to protect New York’s natural resources and the health of our families. For more information, please visit our website www.eany.org or contact Saima Anjam at 462-5526, ext. 233.