Legislators’ 2019 Batting Averages

Average of all bills passed in the 2019 General Assembly session. Source: Virginia Public Access Project

In a legislature narrowly controlled by Republicans, being a member of the GOP caucus undoubtedly helped lawmakers get their bills passed during the 2019 General Assembly session. Eleven of the 12 legislators with the highest percentage of bills passed were Republican, according to “batting average” statistics published by the Virginia Public Access Project.

Del. Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, had the highest percentage — 100%. It helps to be Speaker of the House. But, then, he introduced only one bill that VPAP measured. Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, saw 20 of his bills passed for a 74% average. Sen. Monty Mason, D-Williamsburg, was the most effective Democratic legislator. He passed 17 of 21 bills for an 81% record.

Overall, Republicans saw 48% of their bills pass, compared to 32% for Democrats. The numbers are lopsided, to be sure, but they suggest at least a modicum of bipartisan cooperation.

Seniority also affected the ability of legislators to get their bills passed — but not by as wide a margin as one might think. Novice legislators (0-4 years seniority) passed 33% of their bills compared to lawmakers with 5-10 years experience (45%), 11-15 years (39%), and 16+ years (45%). Once legislators learn the ropes, it appears, their seniority apparently does not affect their statistics.

Males enacted more legislation overall than females, but that disparity likely reflects the fact that females in the General Assembly are more likely to be Democrats and newcomers. One standout among novice female legislators, however, was Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, who saw 15 of 29 bills passed.

While useful, these stats have limitations. They do not distinguish between controversial, high-impact bills and uncontroversial, inconsequential bills. VPAP does not explain its methodology, but from eyeballing Speaker Cox’s legislative record, it appears that VPAP did strip out meaningless “celebrating the life of…” honorariums. Other than a a bill confirming appointments to the Virginia Retirement System, Cox introduced only one bill — the Innovative Internship Fund and Innovative Internship Pilot Program. However, he assigned other bills in his legislative package to other delegates, a practice that the VPAP stats cannot track.

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5 responses to “Legislators’ 2019 Batting Averages”

  1. djrippert Avatar

    I looked at the top 20 legislators by success rate. Only one, David Bulova at #14, was from NoVa. So, about a third of Virginians live in NoVa and only one of the top 20 legislators (by legislative success rate) is from NoVa.

    However, the 2019 General Assembly session will be remembered (by me at least) as the final end of the Byrd Machine. Yes, the mantle of Byrd Machine passed from Democrats to Republicans years ago. Later this year the Democrats will take over the legislature. In 2021 they will further strengthen their hold on the House of Delegates. They will then gerrymander the House of Delegates (and the Senate which is already pretty Democrat friendly). From there on out the death grip that Virginia’s rural politicians have held on Virginia will be done forever. It can’t happen soon enough.

  2. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    With the Larry, Moe and Curly show ongoing, the betting line may change.

    Of the many things VPAP tracks, this particular metric is not very useful. Some legislators throw in lots of bills with no real plan to get them all through, and others are choosy and worry hard about their pass rate. Seniority still matters. FABULOUS graphic, though. I’m so jealous. Pretty pictures work so much better than dry copy…..but I’m stuck with the written word.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      yep – for me to be convinced of anything – I’d have to see something that samples 10 years or so of General Assemblies… and see what kind of a trend there might be – if any. As Steve says. Some are very choosy and others that throw fluff all over the place so they can claim they got bills through.

      Further – bills can get amended, combined, etc.. can morph…

      1. djrippert Avatar

        Watching how the RPV used five “safe seat” rural legislators to kill the marijuana de-criminalization bill in sub-committee was enough for me. That bill wasn’t “fluff”. It was serious legislation that mirrors legislation already passed in 22 states including states like Mississippi and North Carolina.

        There was no reason that bill should have been killed in sub-committee for God’s sake. It should have gone to the whole committee and then to the legislature in the entirety.

        The RPV is an incompetent disaster. They stifle democracy with gimmicks like killing meaningful legislation with sub-committee members who act more like Hee Haw extras than legislators. They run horrible candidates. They have no bench.

        The RPV is like the Baltimore Orioles. A truly God awful team that needs to be torn down to the foundations and rebuilt. That tear down starts in November.

        I don’t need 10 years of data. I’ve been commenting and contributing to this blog for more than 10 years. I see the scams and I recognize the scammers.

        The RPV needs quite a few “rebuilding years”.

  3. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    What is RPV? Who is “they?” You mean that collection of party apparatchiks down at HQ? You don’t actually think anybody at the Capitol listens to them, do you? They sure didn’t when I worked at RPV. I couldn’t name five of them, probably. I don’t usually see them walking the halls at the Capitol. If a decision was made to spike the pot bill, it was made inside the GAB by legislators, probably in the Speaker’s Office or in a caucus gathering. I know you want to rot your brain with that &$#t legally, but I can think of plenty of reasons VA need not go there.

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