The North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research released its biennial legislator effectiveness rankings today, and many of the highest ranking legislators will not be returning. In order to measure effectiveness, the Center takes surveys of registered lobbyists, the capitol press, and the legislators themselves. These groups are asked to rate the legislators in several different categories, including participation in committees, skills at guiding bills through committees, floor debates, expertise in certain fields, and respect commanded by peers. Additionally, the Center releases rankings of legislators’ attendance and participation in electronic roll call votes.
President pro-tempore Marc Basnight (D-Dare) and Speaker of the House Joe Hackney (D-Orange) remain first in effectiveness for their houses. At least five of the top 20 most effective Senators, however, are not running for re-election, including Senator David Hoyle (D-Gaston), who is ranked third, Sen. R.C. Soles (D-Columbus), who is ranked 12th, and Sen. Charlie Albertson (D-Duplin), who is ranked 15th. Sen. Tony Rand (D-Cumberland), who is ranked second, and Sen. David Weinstein (D-Robeson), who is ranked 16th, have accepted appointments in Governor Perdue’s administration.
Six of the 20 Senate Republicans are in the top 25 most effective Senators–Sen. Fletcher Hartsell (R-Cabarrus) ranks 7th in effectiveness, Republican Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) ranks 11th, Richard Stevens (R-Wake) ranks 13th, Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson) ranks 17th, Stan Bingham (R-Davidson) ranks 21st, and Pete Brunstetter (R-Forsyth) ranks 22nd.
Two House Republicans made significant jumps in effectiveness from the 2007 rankings—Republican Whip Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) moved up 63 places from 95th in 2007 to 32nd in the new rankings, and Rep. Wil Neumann (R-Gaston) jumped 38 positions from 107th to 69th.