Sacramento, CA – The California Civil Liberties Advocacy (CCLA), a statewide nonprofit group of activists with a presence in the state’s Capitol, has released its 2015 Legislative Scorecard. The scorecard grades each of California’s 120 individual state lawmakers, in addition to Governor Jerry Brown, on a sample of bills covering issues such as police body cameras, Fourth Amendment searches, civil asset forfeiture, electronic privacy, drones, suspect profiling, and enhanced driver’s licenses.
“Unfortunately, though state lawmakers may claim the opposite, we have found that many are not usually concerned with matters intended to enhance or preserve Constitutional rights or liberty,” said CCLA President Amber Lynette. “We are very concerned to see that more than half the legislators in the State Assembly, more than 51%, received a grade of less than 70%. On average, all 120 members combined only voted in favor of preserving or enhancing civil liberties about 78% of the time, based on our sample. And only one person received an A+. That’s just not good enough.” Assembly Member Marc Levine (D) from the 10th Assembly District was the only member of California’s 120 state lawmakers to receive an A+.
Legislators were graded based on whether they supported bills intended to augment civil liberties, or if they opposed bills that would have made a negative impact. One such bill was SB 249 (Hueso-D), which was supposed to allow for enhanced driver’s licenses to facilitate frequent travelers crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. An unintended effect of such licenses was that they were to house an RFID chip that could be read by law enforcement officers from about 30 feet away, which would allow unsuspected citizens to be profiled and tracked throughout the state.
The complete 2015 Legislative Scorecard is available for free in PDF format here. Hardcopies are available for $9.95 from Amazon.