The annual Kansas Freedom Index tracks legislators’ votes on bills that impact student-focused education, free markets and the constitutional principles of individual liberty and limited government. Each legislative session, however, brings a different ‘mix’ of bills and circumstances, such that, in combination with the caveats in Interpreting Legislators’ Votes, a legislator’s Freedom Index for a particular year may or may not be indicative of their complete record. Accordingly, a Lifetime Freedom Index has been added effective with the 2015 Freedom Index and will be updated each year.
A Lifetime Freedom Index is assigned to every current legislator who participated at least two legislative sessions but only back as far as the 2012 legislative session, which was the inaugural year of the Freedom Index. Service in previous sessions need not be contiguous to the current session and includes participation in a different chamber (House or Senate) in which they currently serve.
The Index (percentage) for a single year represents the relative position of a legislator’s score on a number line of the minimum and maximum score, with the percentage indicating proximity to the maximum score. For example, if a legislator with score range of ±43 and a score of zero would be at the 50% point of the minimum / maximum number line. A legislator with a score of negative 20 on that same range would be at the 26.7% point (Freedom Index) on the number line (or 73.7% away from the maximum). It is calculated by adding the maximum positive score for the House or Senate to each legislator’s actual score and dividing the total by twice the appropriate maximum score.
The Lifetime Freedom Index is calculated in the same manner as for a single year, but tabulates each legislator’s actual and maximum scores for every session in which they participated.