Awards given to New Hampshire lawmaker and resident who worked tirelessly to support freedom in 2010
MANCHESTER, N.H.—The New Hampshire Liberty Alliance named Epsom State Rep. Carol McGuire the NHLA Legislator of the Year for her pro-liberty voting record in 2010. McGuire was one of eight representatives to earn an “A” rating on the Liberty Alliance’s 2010 Liberty Rating report card, which the non-partisan coalition released this week to help voters decide which state legislators to reelect or replace in the upcoming midterm elections.
“I’m honored,” McGuire said. “I just hope in the coming year we can continue to pass a few good laws and repeal a whole lot of bad ones.”
The Liberty Alliance also named Matt Simon, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy, as its Activist of the Year for his efforts to advance and protect liberty in the Granite State. Simon, who was behind successful marijuana decriminalization efforts in the House this year, has been working in the legislature since 2007 to change the way lawmakers, the media and the pubic think about marijuana and marijuana prohibition.
“It has been a great pleasure to see the New Hampshire legislature move in a pro-liberty direction on marijuana policy in the last few years, and it was a great honor to be named Activist of the Year,” said Simon, who founded the coalition.
To select the Activist of the Year, the Liberty Alliance board solicited nominations on its Web site, and board members also nominated activists. Ultimately, the board discussed the pros and cons of the people who were nominated or recommended.
To come up with the Liberty Rating report card this year, New Hampshire Liberty Alliance volunteers evaluated each bill under consideration. From the list, the Liberty Alliance board selected 52 roll-call votes in the House and 12 in the Senate that demonstrated a pro-liberty or anti-liberty position, then weighted the votes based on their impact to freedom. Each representative and senator was awarded an A to D- letter grade based on how many pro-liberty votes they made. No legislators earned an A+, F or CT grade this year (CT stands for constitutional threat). The final results of the evaluation and each state lawmaker’s grade are listed in the alliance's annual Liberty Rating report card, a tool for voters released this week.
“I’d like to point out [about the] Liberty Alliance: We don’t have a platform voted on by our members on an ad hoc basis,” said Denis Goddard, the emcee for the evening, host of Capitol Access and Webmaster for FreeStateBlogs.net. “We really are doing everything possible to make sure our principles guide our practice. The report card is based on pro-liberty and anti-liberty votes and their impact on New Hampshire.”
McGuire, the Legislator of the Year, and other lawmakers who received good Liberty Rating grades voted for bills that advance individual freedom of choice, personal responsibility and respect for the citizens' rights of self-ownership as well as bills that promote good government and recognize the value of voluntary economic decisions. Good-scoring lawmakers consistently opposed legislation that promotes government interventionism, gives power by force to government agencies over individuals, and supports central economic planning that requires people to pay for policies they may not willingly support.
Among the 52-roll call votes the Liberty Alliance evaluated for its liberty rating were on bills the NHLA supported to deregulate home-schooling, enact right-to-work rules, permit death with dignity and decriminalize marijuana. Also part of the assessment were bills the Liberty Alliance opposed, such as the soda tax, a bill that would have prohibited open carry of firearms in public buildings, an income tax for education and two health insurance mandates. The NHLA supported repeal of the campsite tax and opposed a bill to regulate political speech as part of its effort to score state senators. The full list of NHLA-scored House and Senate votes is part of the Liberty Rating report card.
The Liberty Rating also tracks lawmakers’ perfect and derelict attendance, the top and bottom pro- and anti-liberty performers, the five-year honor roll of pro-liberty lawmakers, and both community-by-community and alphabetical lists of legislators next to their final liberty grades for the year.
VIDEO: You may also watch Harvard Economist Jeffrey Miron, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, talk about the chances of marijuana legalization during his keynote address at the NHLA Annual Liberty Dinner here: <http://blip.tv/file/3869423>.
About the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance
The New Hampshire Liberty Alliance is a non-partisan coalition working to increase individual freedom in New Hampshire. The Alliance supports liberty by monitoring bills in the legislative sessions and encouraging private charity, a civil society and citizen involvement. The NHLA reviews liberty-sensitive bills in each legislative session. Bills are evaluated based on their effects on civil liberties, personal responsibility, property rights, accountability, constitutionality, affordability, regulation, fiscal impact and taxation. From this evaluation process it publishes a weekly handout called The Gold Standard. Members distribute it to lawmakers prior to their vote in order to give them an understanding about whether a given bill is pro-liberty or anti-liberty. The Gold Standard reports then form the foundation for the NHLA’s annual Liberty Rating, a report card by which the alliance scores state representatives and senators. The Liberty Rating serves as an annual voters' guide.