Insider And Opposition Parties In The Utah Legislature

Most roll call votes in the Utah legislature are unanimous. Votes are held for show on easy issues while our representatives chat with each other and lobbyists. That’s okay — it’s their job.

But on the controversial votes where not everyone is automatically voting aye, there are distinct patterns by party. Republicans are in charge of the leadership and they use the Rules committees to bring only their favorite bills to the floor. Democrats’ bills are shut out.

Let’s take a look at how hard it is to be a Democrat. Happier legislators will have more bills they can votes aye on and fewer bills they have to vote against.

Democrats Republicans
Year Body Total Ayes Total Nays Ratio Total Ayes Total Nays Ratio
2007 House 3186 1408 69% 10405 1895 85%
2007 Senate 1252 393 76% 3468 584 86%
2008 House 3096 1105 74% 9569 1717 85%
2008 Senate 1138 444 72% 3330 522 86%

The values count every vote cast by every legislator in each party through the General Session in a roll call on a bill that was not unanimous.  The ratio is the proportion of yea votes out of all aye and nay votes;  absences are not counted.

It looks like being a Republican in the Utah legislature is between 10% and 20% better than being a Democrat.  That is the additional proportion of all controversial bills that appeal to Republicans over the ones that Democrats can support.

It’s a big difference, but it could be worse.

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