As session gets underway, we look forward to the bills, the debate, and ultimately the votes that will shape North Carolina’s public policies. Whether it’s the budget, education, health care or regulations, we believe the question to be asked with each consideration of a bill – Does this enhance freedom or does it take it away?

Civitas Action is a non-profit organization, under the John Locke Foundation umbrella, dedicated to educating and informing North Carolinians on policy issues and the actions of their elected officials. We advocate for free-market, limited government policies that emphasize personal responsibility and civic engagement; in other words, policies that enhance freedom.

One of the ways we keep voters up-to-date on state issues is through the annual Civitas Action Freedom Rankings. These rankings inform the public on where individual legislators stand on defending liberty and give legislators an opportunity to keep their constituents informed how state policies impact them, their businesses, and their families. In addition to the rankings, we will also be recognizing an “Advocate for Freedom” periodically throughout the session to those who go over and beyond for the cause of freedom.

Civitas Action Freedom Rankings are based on votes on designated bills determined by our staff. Civitas Action selects bills and amendments that reflect a legislator’s commitment to freedom, as expressed by the ideals of the free-market, limited government, personal responsibility, and civic engagement. In the 2019 long session, Civitas Action graded 15 bills or amendments in the Senate and had 17 graded votes in the House. Some examples of past graded bills include a bill to protect private property rights from eminent domain overreach or a bill to expand healthcare freedom through reform of the state’s burdensome Certificate of Need laws.

The votes are scored on a scale of zero to 100, with zero being the least friendly toward freedom and 100 being the most friendly toward freedom. Cumulative scores are calculated by awarding a 100 for every freedom-minded vote and a 0 for every freedom-limiting vote. Scores are then divided by the total number of graded votes. Excused absences and excused votes do not count against a legislator’s score, while non-excused votes do count towards the score. Scores are calculated on a rolling basis and are updated within 1 to 2 business days of a graded vote. Rankings are finalized at the end of each year’s legislative session. View full methodology here..

Throughout the session, legislators receive an “Action Alert” notification from us via email prior to a vote on a bill that we intend to grade. Action Alerts explain why Civitas Action believes a vote reflects a clear stance on advancing or defending freedom. We issue Action Alerts with much notice as the legislative process allows.

If you have questions or comments, contact Leah Byers at [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.