Wisconsin’s 2020 Candidate Scorecard

Wisconsin’s 2020 Candidate Scorecard

Northern Wisconsin NORML is pleased to announce the release of our 2020 Candidate Scorecard. This extensive database assigns a letter grade ‘A’ through ‘F’ to the state’s elected officials based upon their comments, authored/co-authored/sponsored/co-sponsored legislation, voting records, interaction with NORML supporters in 2019 and the past that are specific to matters of marijuana policy.

America’s Governors and legislative bodies are our nation’s most powerful state-elected officials and they often play a key role in this ongoing legislative debate. Here is where our Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate Stand on the issues surrounding cannabis policy.

See a brief synopsis below, and read the full Executive Summary prepared by Northern Wisconsin NORML.

Public opinion in support of marijuana law reform, including adult-use legalization, is at an all-time high. Nonetheless, few federal lawmakers are espousing views on cannabis policy that comport with those of the majority of their constituents. As a result, most legislative activity specific to marijuana policy takes place at the state level. America’s Governors and legislative bodies are our nation’s most powerful state-elected officials and they often play a key role in this ongoing legislative debate. Here is where our Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate Stand on the issues surrounding cannabis policy.

Key Findings

Below are the key findings from Northern Wisconsin NORML’s 2019-20 Legislative Scorecard. Among the 132 members of the Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate:

  • 132 members total and 67 members or (51%) received a passing grade of ‘C-’ or higher (99 Representatives and 33 Senators)
  • Of the total members of 132:
  • 33 members (25%) received a grade of ‘A’ (26 Representatives and 7 Senators)
  • 21 members (16%) received a ‘B’ grade (14 Representatives and 7 Senators)
  • 13 members (10%) received a ‘C’ grade (12 Representatives and 1 Senator)
  • 16 members (12%) received a ‘D’ grade (12 Representatives and 4 Senators)
  • 49 members (37%) received a failing grade (35 Representatives and 14 Senators)

Now digest the Senate and Assembly with no party affiliation:

  • 15 out of 33 Senators from both parties (45%) received a passing grade of a C or higher (7 A’s,7 B’s, and 1 C). 18 Senators Failed.
  • 51 out of 99 Assembly Representatives from both parties (51%) received a passing grade of a C or higher (25 A’s, 14 B’s, and 12 C’s). 48 Assembly Representatives Failed.

Now digest the party affiliation:

  • Of the 50 Democrats in both houses, 42 members (84%) received a passing grade of a ‘C’ or higher.
  • Of the 82 Republicans in both houses, 25 members (30%) received a passing grade of ‘C’ or higher.

Now address the November 2020 Election and who is left:

  • 16 of the 33 Senate Seats are up for election in November 2020.  Of those 16 seats 7 (44%) are currently held by a Republican who received a Failing Grade; 2 of those Failing Incumbent Republicans will not be on the ballot in 2020. (Olsen retired and Tiffany is seeking the 7th Congressional Seat.  Also 3 Democrat Incumbents with high grades will be absent as Miller, Taylor and Hanson all leave the Senate.
  • Of the remaining 17 Senators (11 Republicans + 6 Democrats) not up for re-election in 2020: 11 Republicans with only 1 ‘A’ / passing grade and the remaining 10 Senators receiving ‘F’ Failing grades; and of the 6 Democrats remaining 5 received passing grades (2 ‘A’ and 3 ‘B’ and 1 ‘D’).

The Takeaway

Political support among Wisconsin state elected officials for marijuana policy reform continues to grow. However, this support is more partisan than ever before. No Republicans are on record in support of adult-use legalization and not enough are in favor of regulating medical cannabis access. By contrast, a large percentage of Democrats are supportive of both issues. This partisan divide is not similarly reflected among the general public. According to national polling data compiled by Gallup in October 2019, 66 percent of the public — including majorities of self-identified Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — favor adult-use legalization. Bipartisan support among the public for medical marijuana legalization is even stronger. Until this public support is similarly reflected among lawmakers, many cannabis-specific legislative reforms – in particular adult-use legalization proposals – will continue to meet resistance at the state level.

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