By Patricia Gilbanks
The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters recently released its annual score card, an effort designed to track legislators' voting record on bills that have an environmental impact. In addition to tracking votes cast by our legislators, the nonpartisan organization reports on the negative or positive impact on the environment of laws passed in the preceding year.
The League has three goals for its work in the state: to elect pro-environment lawmakers, to hold legislators accountable, and to engage the public in Connecticut's environmental policies.
They set off a bit of a fracas in the media as legislators complained that the scoring did not always do justice to their efforts on environmental issues.
Some lawmakers were concerned that the League chose only certain bills to report on, while others felt that only final votes should be tallied. The League countered that their method of scoring lawmakers, which includes committee votes and votes on amendments in the tally, gives a more complete view of a legislator's record.
Top environmental advocates this year were Representatives Wright, Backer, Christiano and Fleischmann in the House and Senators Roraback, Freedman, McKinney and Finch in the Senate.
You can check out your local legislator's record and scorecard at the League's site www.ctlcv.org. To find out who your local legislators are go to www.vote-smart.org. They need your full 9-digit (zip + 4) zip code: get it at the US Postal Service site at www.usps.com.
Even more valuable to many activists and concerned residents of Connecticut is the League's summary report on each bill voted on in the past year that has an impact on the environment--whether positive or negative.
According to CLCV, 2007 was a "mixed tally with significant wins." The League reports that "there were several highly significant wins: two anti-environmental bills that went forward despite vigorous opposition from environmental leaders, and many good bills that were derailed by special interests."
Want to read more about the fate of each bill with an environmental impact presented to the state legislature this past year? Download the League's report at www.ctlcv.org/2007ScoreCard.pdf. Then go to your next town meeting a savvy and informed green voter!