The entity provides grades for members of the Georgia General Assembly based on their votes on certain pro-business measures considered during this year’s session.
“Decisions Georgia legislators make at the Gold Dome have long-term impacts on our state’s economic prospects,” chamber President and CEO Chris Clark said in a statement. “General Assembly members’ overwhelming support for pro-business measures as reflected in this year’s scorecard proves that our Georgia lawmakers recognize the importance of passing job creation and economic development measures.
“The Georgia Chamber commends members of the [assembly] for their broad based support from both sides of the aisle to enact legislation that enhances our state’s competitiveness.”
Legislators were assigned final grades of A, B, C or U, for “Unsatisfactory,” based on their votes for each scorecard bill — seven in the House and eight in the Senate.
The chamber’s grading system drew the ire of a local lawmaker who was given poor marks.
District 39 Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, called his U score politically motivated.
“I consider the Georgia Chamber to be an adjunct to the Republican Party,” said Fort. “Their ratings have been skewed in the past.”
Fort referenced his stance on two pieces of legislation in particular to illustrate his point.
“I voted against [House Bill] 714 because it takes away unemployment benefits for contract workers in our schools — bus drivers, pre-K workers and cafeteria workers. … I really find that unconscionable,” Fort said. “And, HB 643 makes it more difficult for people who sue companies in court.
“I’m going to vote in my constituents’ best interest and my conscience.”
District 38 Sen. Horacena Tate, D-Atlanta, was the other area legislator assigned a U by the chamber. She did not return email and voicemail messages seeking comment by press time.
To receive a grade, state legislators must have been present to vote for 50 percent of the total scorecard votes. In addition to the 2014 grades, the chamber scorecard also reflects all legislators’ 2013 midterm assessments and final grades for the 2013-14 term.
Here is how the other local lawmakers fared:
o District 6’s Hunter B. Hill, R-Smyrna: A
o District 32’s Judson H. Hill, R-Marietta: A+
o District 36’s Nancy G. “Nan” Orrock, D-Atlanta: C
o District 56’s John E. Albers, R-Roswell: A+
o District 48’s Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell: A
o District 51’s Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs: A+
o District 52’s Joe Wilkinson, R-Sandy Springs: A+
o District 53’s Sheila Jones, D-Smyrna: B+
o District 54’s Ed Lindsey, R-Atlanta: A+
o District 56’s “Able” Mable Thomas, D-Atlanta: B+