Center for Effective Lawmaking

Health Policy Legislative Effectiveness Scores: Highlights from the 116th Congress

Health Policy Legislative Effectiveness Scores: Highlights from the 116th Congress Which lawmakers are best able to move health policy changes through Congress, and why? In March, the Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL) released our Legislative Effectiveness Scores (LES) for the recently completed 116th Congress (2019-21). We also scored members of the House and Senate based on their interest in and effectiveness at lawmaking within twenty-one different policy areas, ranging from Agriculture to Immigration to Transportation. In addition to a historical consideration of the data (our scores extend back to 1973),…

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Are Bipartisan Lawmakers More Effective?

Are Bipartisan Lawmakers More Effective? The 117th Congress wrestles with the Biden administration agenda and pressing policy challenges during an increasingly polarized time for American politics. The question looming large over all of these discussions is whether bipartisanship is dead.We find that, even in these politically polarized times, being a bipartisan lawmaker yields legislative payoffs.The Center for Effective Lawmaking has published new research drawing on data from the 93rd-114th Congresses (1973-2016). We explore whether attracting a larger proportion of cosponsors from the opposing party helps Senators and Representatives advance their…

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Reforming Congress, A Conversation with Sunwater Institute

Reforming Congress, A Conversation with Sunwater Institute The Center for Effective Lawmaking’s Co-Directors, Professor Craig Volden and Professor Alan E. Wiseman, had the opportunity to engage in an in-depth conversation with Matthew Chervenak, Founder & President of the Sunwater Institute, about Congressional reform and what concerns and recommendations we can identify based on the research at the CEL. In a two-part video series, now available online, the dialogue touches on everything from what motivated the CEL Co-Directors to bring rigorous data analysis on lawmaking effectiveness to the field of political…

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Being an Effective Lawmaker from Day One: A Guide for New Members of Congress

Being an Effective Lawmaker from Day One: A Guide for New Members of Congress The CEL is grateful for the willingness of members of Congress to engage in public service at this crucial time. We congratulate the newly-elected members of the 117th Congress. In conjunction with the start of the new legislative session, we are excited to announce the release of our new and comprehensive New Member Guide.This guide offers our best advice for how new members can become effective lawmakers. We scoured all of the materials presented in previous new…

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Legislative Effectiveness in the American States

Legislative Effectiveness in the American States Overcoming significant barriers that have previously limited scholarly research on the legislative effectiveness of individual state legislators, the Center for Effective Lawmaking is able to announce exciting new progress! Building on innovative approaches that CEL researchers have used in recent studies of the U.S. Congress, we have developed State Legislative Effectiveness Scores (SLES) for state legislators across 97 legislative chambers over recent decades.  And the results unearth more questions we encourage scholars and researchers to explore with renewed vigor. Our SLES is based on…

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On the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress Recommendations

On the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress Recommendations The vision statement of the Center for Effective Lawmaking points toward a Congress “comprised of effective lawmakers” and featuring a “strong institutional capacity.”  It is in this light that we viewed the work of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress with great anticipation and enthusiasm.  We were pleased to meet with members of the Select Committee and committee staff in a variety of forums and to offer our suggestions to the committee as they formulated their recommendations and…

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2020-2021 Small Grant Awards Announced

Small Grant Awards for 2020-2021 Announced It is with honor and excitement that we announce our 3rd annual small grant awards and recipients. The body of academic research produced by both the first and second cohorts of CEL grant recipients has been not only impressive but also critical to the field. We know that this year’s group of awardees will deliver the same high caliber scholarly work.The CEL’s funding and support for research grants is consistent with its commitment to advancing the generation, communication, and use of new knowledge about…

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Foxes v. Hedgehogs and Issues Specialization in Congress

Foxes vs. Hedgehogs: Issue Specialization and Effective Lawmaking in the U.S. Congress Members of Congress can specialize in particular policy areas or maintain a more general approach in the bills they sponsor. Is one approach more effective than the other? The impact of a Representative’s or Senator’s choice on this matter has, before now, been largely left to speculation and anecdote. But the Center for Effective Lawmaking has released new research indicating that the vast majority of lawmakers have overly general legislative agendas. This has powerful implications for effective lawmaking.The…

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Meet our Faculty Affiliate: Andrew Clarke

Meet Our Faculty Affiliate: Andrew Clarke Andrew Clarke, an Assistant Professor of Government and Law at Lafayette College, and current Faculty Affiliate of the CEL, uses his expertise not only to advance legislative research but also to help the next generation of scholars. Professor Clarke received his undergraduate degree in political science at Bucknell University and a doctorate in government at the University of Virginia. His research area of expertise includes American political institutions with a more specific focus on legislative party factions.As an undergraduate at Bucknell University, Clarke first…

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Watch: The History of the Legislative Effectiveness Scores

Watch: The History of the Legislative Effectiveness Scores During a recent Expert Chat conversation, hosted by the Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy, Professors Alan E. Wiseman and Craig Volden gave rare insight into how the Center for Effective Lawmaking was first formed, with roots from when the Co-Directors were both faculty at Ohio State University.At that time, Volden and Wiseman utilized their skill sets to create a meaningful metric for effectiveness in Congress by assessing which members successfully pass substantive and significant pieces of legislation regardless of political…

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