Legislative scorecard: How Southern Utah’s lawmakers rank among Sierra Club, Libertas Institute, others

The Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City. Utah, March 8, 2018. Gov. Gary Herbert has signed a law banning most abortions after 18 weeks of gestation, setting the stage for a legal showdown. | Associated Press file photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Following the conclusion of the 2019 legislative session in March, St. George News created a scorecard showing how state lawmakers representing Southern Utah voted on the matters our readers followed most.

Read more: Legislative scorecard: How did Southern Utah lawmakers vote on the issues that readers followed the most?

In the same vein, various organizations and interest groups ranging from conservative to liberal have also tallied their own rankings of Southern Utah’s lawmakers.

Most recently, the Utah Sierra Club released its scorecard, wherein the majority of the Legislature received a failing grade on environmental issues. Other organizations with scorecards ranking legislators based on the issues include Planned Parenthood, the Libertas Institute, the Utah Taxpayers Association and Alliance for a Better Utah.

See the tally boards below for complete rankings of Southern Utah’s legislators, all of whom are members of the Republican Party.

Scores


The Utah Sierra Club issued letter grades to state lawmakers. Those representing Southern Utah did not get passing grades. Statewide, the Senate averaged 54% and the House averaged 51%.

Representatives

Score

Senators

Score

Brad Last

38% – F

Don Ipson

27% – F

V. Lowry Snow

41% – F

Evan Vickers

38 % – F

Walt Brooks

40% – F

David Hinkins

30% – F

Rex Shipp

26% – F

Ralph Okerlund

35% – F

Phil Lyman

21% – F

Merrill Nelson

53% – F

Travis Seegmiller

25% – F

See the Sierra Club’s overall 2019 scorecard here.


Planned Parenthood, the reproductive freedom and women’s health advocacy group, was not pleased with the Utah Legislature this year. Among the bills that passed that were opposed by the organization include House bills 136 and 166, which ban abortion at 18 weeks and abortions performed based solely on a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Southern Utah’s lawmakers voted in favor of both bills.

Also on Planned Parenthood’s radar were House Bill 71, having to do with teaching contraception in schools, and Senate Bill 96, the Legislature’s take on Medicaid expansion. The group supported HB 71 but stood against SB 96.

Southern Utah’s legislators voted in favor of both bills. Their favorable vote for HB 71 gave the majority a 25% rating. The 33% comes from legislators being absent during a particular vote, thus being counted as neutral on the matter.

Representatives

Score

Senators

Score

Brad Last

25%

Don Ipson

33%

V. Lowry Snow

25%

Evan Vickers

25%

Walt Brooks

33%

David Hinkins

25%

Rex Shipp

25%

Ralph Okerlund

25%

Phil Lyman

25%

Merrill Nelson

25%

Travis Seegmiller

25%

See Planned Parenthood’s overall 2019 scorecard here.


The Libertas Institute, a libertarian-leaning think tank based in northern Utah, maintains an online “Legislator Index” that also ranks state lawmakers based on how they voted on particular issues.

The assigned scores note how closely lawmakers voted in accordance with libertarian and limited-government ideals, as expressed by the institute.

Representatives

Score

Senators

Score

Brad Last

54%

Don Ipson

78%

V. Lowry Snow

57%

Evan Vickers

69%

Walt Brooks

80%

David Hinkins

82%

Rex Shipp

75%

Ralph Okerlund

57%

Phil Lyman

97%

Merrill Nelson

62%

Travis Seegmiller

86%

The various bills Libertas supported and opposed can be found on the 2019 Libertas Legislator Index here.


The Utah Taxpayers Association stated the average score on tax-related issues for the Utah Senate was 82%, while the House was 73%.

This session saw the introduction of a behemoth tax bill that would have expanded Utah’s sales tax to services. The Utah Taxpayers Association opposed the bill, which was ultimately shelved in favor of further review.

As with other groups, the scores show the degree to which Southern Utah’s legislators voted in accordance with the organization’s views and policy goals.

Representatives

Score

Senators

Score

Brad Last

87%

Don Ipson

80%

V. Lowry Snow

75%

Evan Vickers

81%

Walt Brooks

90%

David Hinkins

81%

Rex Shipp

83%

Ralph Okerlund

84%

Phil Lyman

90%

Merrill Nelson

77%

Travis Seegmiller

70%

See the Utah Taxpayers Association’s overall 2019 scorecard and the list of bills it supported and opposed here.


Alliance for a Better Utah, a liberal-leaning government watchdog group, calls its scorecard the “Progress Report.” The report provides a ranking of legislators in relation to their support for “strong communities, equal rights, good government, and providing a sustainable future.”

Te alliance’s scorecard assigned letter grades to Southern Utah’s lawmakers based on how they voted in this year’s Legislature.

Representatives

Score

Senators

Score

Brad Last

C

Don Ipson

D

V. Lowry Snow

C

Evan Vickers

C

Walt Brooks

C

David Hinkins

D

Rex Shipp

C

Ralph Okerlund

C

Phil Lyman

D

Merrill Nelson

C

Travis Seegmiller

D

An overall look at Alliance for a Better Utah’s 2019 scorecard can be found here.


Read more: See all St. George News reports and opinions on Utah Legislature 2019 issues

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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