California Capitol

Capitol Alert
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com
September 25, 2015

  • Voting records show some lawmakers missed hundreds of votes
  • Democrats David Chiu and Jerry Hill had most aye votes

Lawmakers miss votes for multiple reasons.

Sometimes they are not present because of illness or have been excused from session for legislative or personal business, such as campaign meetings. Sometimes lawmakers are present yet still don’t vote.

Whatever the explanation, California lawmakers missed hundreds of votes during the legislative year that ended Sept. 12, final legislative voting records show.

This year’s average nonvoting rate of about 4 percent – 3.7 percent on the floor and 5 percent in committee – compares to an overall nonvoting rate of 5.2 percent in 2013, the first half of the last two-year session.

Some lawmakers abstain, or “take a pass,” to avoid a political dilemma. Republicans and Democrats representing more competitive districts, for example, generally did not vote more often than their colleagues from politically safer seats in 2015, records show.

1,380 The number of bills and other measures that came up for a vote on the Assembly floor in 2015.

Some lawmakers missed votes at higher rates than their colleagues.

In the Assembly, Assemblyman Rocky Chávez, R-Oceanside, did not vote 14.9 percent of the time on the floor, and Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose, had a nonvote percentage of 10.9 percent. In committee action, Assembly members Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, and Roger Hernández, D-Baldwin Park, did not vote about a quarter of the time.

In the Senate, Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, missed 15.2 percent of floor-voting opportunities, and Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, missed 12.1 percent. State senators Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, and Isadore Hall, D-Compton, led their caucuses in committee nonvotes, voting records show.

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