The Civitas Action Freedom Rankings are now available on the Civitas Action site. In addition, for the first time, Civitas Action has compiled a 2019-2020 legislative biennium Freedom Ranking, which is also available on the Civitas Action site.

Since 2011, the Civitas Action Freedom Rankings have informed the public, in as unbiased a method as possible, where individual legislators stand on issues of freedom.

State legislators are graded on key votes that deal with the expansion or defense of freedom, as expressed by the ideals of the free-market, limited government, personal responsibility, and civic engagement. For more about the Freedom Ranking methodology, check out the full description here.

2020 Freedom Rankings

With the global coronavirus pandemic, 2020 has been an unprecedented year in many ways. The unusual circumstances were obviously a factor in the legislation that came before the General Assembly as it sought to navigate the challenges of governing during a pandemic and subsequent economic shutdown.

With this in mind, it is no surprise that the 2020 Freedom Rankings have a small number of graded bills compared to past years. The Senate was graded on four votes while the House had five graded votes. For comparison, the last legislative short session (2018) had eight graded bills in the Senate and 10 graded bills in the House.

In the House, Keith Kidwell (R-Beaufort), Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus), and David Rogers (R-Rutherford) all obtained perfect scores with no absences.

In the Senate, Ben Clark (D-Cumberland) obtained the top score of 75, voting against freedom on only one vote. Clark is the first Democrat to earn a top ranking in the history of the Freedom Rankings. (Note: Rep. Evelyn Terry (D-Forsyth) had a perfect score in 2016, but had an excused absence for all graded votes except one, likely due to health issues she was battling at the time).

Representatives Linda Cooper-Suggs (D-Wilson) and Wes Scollander (R-Forsyth), as well as Senators Dean Proctor (R-Catawba) and David Craven Jr. (R-Guilford) are not included in this year’s rankings. They were appointed in fall 2020 and thus only had the opportunity to vote on one graded bill.

2019-2020 Biennium Freedom Rankings

While the 2020 Freedom Rankings provide citizens with insight, the biennium score paints a more complete picture of a legislator’s performance on issues related to freedom.

In North Carolina, the legislature operates in two year sessions, making the biennium score an appropriate measure to capture legislators’ records for the entirety of one term. The 2019- 2020 Freedom Rankings consist of 19 graded votes in the Senate and 22 graded votes in the House.

Representative Kidwell was the only House member to earn a perfect score in both years of the legislative session, earning him the top ranking for the House in the biennium. This is Rep. Kidwell’s first term in the legislature.

Senator Andy Wells (R-Catawba) earned the top spot in the Senate for the biennium with an 87.5 score. Sen. Wells also ranked first in the Senate on the 2016 Freedom Rankings. Wells served three terms in the Senate, having previously served one term in the House. Wells resigned from the Senate in July 2020.

Legislators who did not serve in both years of the legislative session are not included in the 2019-2020 biennium score since their biennium score would simply replicate their single-year score. A list of House and Senate members excluded from the biennium Freedom Rankings can be found below:

House – Served 2019 only

  • Ken Goodman – Resigned 4/18/19
  • Rena Turner – Resigned 6/27/19
  • Cody Henson – Resigned 7/26/19
  • Greg Murphy – Resigned 9/16/19
  • Linda Johnson – Deceased 2/18/20
  • MaryAnn Black – Deceased 3/25/20

House – Served 2020 only

  • Kristen Baker – Appointed 3/19/20
  • Vernetta Alston – Appointed 4/13/20

Senate – Served 2019 only

  • Dan Bishop – Resigned 9/17/19
  • Floyd McKissick – Resigned 1/7/20

Senate – Served 2020 only

  • Natalie Murdock – Appointed 4/1/20

For questions, please contact Leah Byers, [email protected]

Civitas Action is a 501(c)(4) non-profit that educates and informs North Carolinians on policy issues and the actions of their elected officials.

View the full rankings and see how well your elected representatives fought for freedom here.

Civitas Action is a 501(c)(4) non-profit that educates and informs North Carolinians on policy issues and the actions of their elected officials.