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Batting Averages Vary Among Virginia Legislators

April 13, 2015

By Janeal Downs
Capital News Service

As baseball season gets underway, here’s a question worth pondering: Who were the heavy hitters in the 2015 General Assembly?

For a lead-off hitter, your fantasy team might include Del. Scott Garrett, R-Lynchburg: He sponsored seven bills during the recent legislation session – and all of them passed. You can’t bat any better than 1.000.

On deck might be Del. Thomas A. “Tag” Greason, R-Lansdowne. Eleven of his 12 bills passed, for a batting average of 0.917. A fraction behind was Del. Edward T. Scott, R-Culpepper: He batted 0.889, passing eight of his nine bills.

For a clean-up hitter, try Sen. Tommy Norment, R-Williamsburg, with a batting average of 0.833. Of the 24 bills that Norment filed, 20 passed – more than any other legislator.

Capital News Service calculated the batting averages for every Virginia legislator using data from the General Assembly’s Legislative Information Service. CNS tabulated how many bills each lawmaker filed for the 2015 session and then computed what percentage of those bills passed.

Overall, the Senate had a batting average of 0.434: Of the 793 Senate bills introduced, 344 (or 43.4 percent) were approved by both the Senate and the House.

The House of Delegates had a batting average of 0.404. At the start of the session, delegates filed 1,125; by the end of the session, 455 (or 40.4 percent) of them passed.

CNS looked at only bills – not resolutions, which are often ceremonial. The comparisons are admittedly simplistic. For example, some bills technically failed, but their ideas were incorporated into other legislation that got passed by the General Assembly.

Moreover, the analysis did not distinguish between bills that addressed controversial issues and bills that addressed mundane topics. Certainly, it’s easier to pass some bills than others.

Even so, the analysis revealed large disparities among lawmakers.

At one end were legislators like:

  • Republican Dels. Keith Hodges of Urbanna and Chris Jones of Suffolk, who each hit 0.833. (Both legislators sponsored 12 bills, and 10 passed).
  • Emmett Hanger Jr., R-Mount Solon, who had a batting average of 0.739 (17 of his 23 bills passed).
  • John Cosgrove Jr., R-Chesapeake, who hit 0.727 (16 of his 22 bills passed).
  • Ken Alexander, D-Norfolk, with a batting average of 0.667 (passing 10 of his 15 bills).

At the other extreme were legislators like Del. Monty Mason, D-Williamsburg. He introduced 14 bills this session, and none of them passed.

The only other lawmaker batting 0.000 was Democrat-turned-independent Joe Morrissey, who recently quit his Richmond-area House seat to run for the Senate amid a scandal over a misdemeanor sex crime conviction.

Morrissey sponsored 10 bills; they all died in committee. Where have you gone, Joe?

Not all of the bills passed by the General Assembly have been signed into law by Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The governor vetoed 17 bills and recommended amendments to 68 others. Legislators will reconvene in Richmond on Wednesday for their “veto session” to consider whether to overturn or uphold the governor’s actions.

Look at an infogram here.