How conservative is Dan Liljenquist really?

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by Daryl Acumen
I’m continuing to do my research on the short legislative record of State Senator Dan Liljenquist.  I’ve been curious as to why FreedomWorks took so long to endorse Liljenquist and why some folks at the UTGOP Convention referred to him as a “liberal.”  I’m of course aware that Dan’s record with the Utah Taxpayer’s Association was tarnished by a vote he made for an increase in Utah’s cigarette tax (increasing a “sin tax” by 144% is something Bush 41 would have done), but I wanted to dig deeper.  This post represents the beginning of my research on the subject.  Note: one half of one term in the legislature is not enough time to truly establish a pattern, but I have to start somewhere.

GrassRoots Info: is committed to promoting the principles of limited government, constitution, representative government, participatory democracy, free market economy, separation of powers and family. This is a fairly accurate barometer of one’s conservatism.

  • In 2009, Liljenquist’s GrassRoots rating was just 50%.
  • He was the lowest ranking republican in the entire senate that year.
  • Karen Mayne, a democrat, had a better GrassRoots score than Liljenquist. (Mayne was ranked #19 and Liljenquist was ranked #21.)
  • In 2010, Liljenquist’s GrassRoots rating rose to 65%. This rose his lifetime score to 57%.
  • In 2011, Liljenquist’s GrassRoots rating was 83% but he was absent during voting on almost a third (5/17) of the key votes that year.
  • Even with his 83% rating in 2011, his lifetime GrassRoots score is still a dismal 63%. (Orrin Hatch has a lifetime conservative rating of 89%.)
  • In 2009, Liljenquist voted FOR S.B. 43, which required insurance companies to provide autism insurance.
  • In 2009, Liljenquist voted AGAINST SB 61, which would have allowed students who attended private school, or who were home-schooled, to participate in public school extra-curricular activities.
  • In 2009, Liljenquist voted FOR S.B. 225This bill appropriates $1.8 million in 2010 and beyond to expand CHIP coverage to children of legal immigrants; regardless of how long they have lived in the country. Liljenquist has argued that SCHIP is unconstitutional, and yet he voted to expand it! Liljenquist joined only six other republicans and ALL of the democrats, to vote for this bill.
  • In 2009, Liljenquist voted FOR SCR 1. This bill asked Congress to grant Utah a waiver to start a guest worker program.
  • In 2010, Liljenquist voted FOR HB 196, which levied a $43million tax on cigarettes.
  • In 2010, Liljenquist voted AGAINST HB 234. This bill was proposed by Steve Sandstrom. It prohibited the state from participating in the federal Real ID program.
  • In 2010, Liljenquist voted FOR SB 272, which authorized the Utah Transit Authority to participate in real estate development.
  • In 2011, Liljenquist voted FOR HB 477, which amended the GRAMA law to exclude emails, text messages, instant message and voice messages.

Senate Ratings:

  • In 2009, Liljenquist received a 40% rating from UFIRE (Utahans for Immigration Reform and Enforcement)—which is an F. Luz Robles—who is certainly not beloved among those at UFIRE—received a higher rating than Dan Liljenquist.
  • In 2010, UTA (Utah Taxpayers Association) gave Liljenquist a rating of 67%.
  • In 2010, UFIRE gave Liljenquist a rating of 70%.
  • In 2009, Liljenquist’s CLI (Conservative/Liberal Index) was 64.8%. This index is tabulated by combining the scores of all of the groups together. Margaret Dayton received a CLI of 84.9%. Howard Stephenson’s CLI was 80.5%.
  • In 2010, Liljenquist’s CLI was 71.5%.
  • In 2011, Liljenquist’s CLI was 80.5%.