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Vote Smart provides easy access to Congressional and state voting records and maintains a collection of key votes grouped by issue. Vote Smart uses the following criteria to select key votes:

  1. The vote should be helpful in portraying how a member stands on a particular issue
  2. The vote should be clear for any person to understand
  3. The vote has received media attention
  4. The vote was passed or defeated by a very close margin
  5. Occasionally, if a specific bill is consistently inquired about on the Voter's Research Hotline, the vote will be added

Vote Smart provides a summary of the version of the bill text associated with each selected key vote. The summary does not necessarily reflect the content of the final version of the bill. Summaries are written by Vote Smart's staff and interns, who adhere to the project's strict policies and procedures in order to guarantee absolute impartiality and accuracy. Each key vote selection is reviewed by the project's community of advisors, who are political scientists and journalists from all fifty states.


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Date State Bill No. Title Outcome
Dec. 15, 2011 National HR 1540 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 Conference Report Adopted - Senate (86 - 13)
Dec. 14, 2011 National HR 1540 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 Conference Report Adopted - House (283 - 136)
Dec. 1, 2011 National S Amdt 1125 Limits New Detention Rules to Prisoners Captured Outside the U.S. Amendment Rejected - Senate (45 - 55)
Dec. 1, 2011 National S Amdt 1126 Prohibits Detention of U.S. Citizens Without Trial Amendment Rejected - Senate (45 - 55)
Dec. 1, 2011 National S Amdt 1126 Prohibits Detention of U.S. Citizens Without Trial Amendment Rejected - Senate (45 - 55)
Dec. 1, 2011 National S Amdt 1274 Authorizes Further Detention After Trial During Wartime Amendment Rejected - Senate (41 - 59)
Dec. 1, 2011 National S Amdt 1274 Authorizes Further Detention After Trial During Wartime Amendment Rejected - Senate (41 - 59)
Dec. 1, 2011 National S Amdt 1125 Limits New Detention Rules to Prisoners Captured Outside the U.S. Amendment Rejected - Senate (45 - 55)
Nov. 29, 2011 National S Amdt 1107 Removes Provisions Requiring Military Custody of al-Qaeda Suspects Amendment Rejected - Senate (38 - 60)
Nov. 28, 2011 NC SB 9 Death Penalty Discrimination Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (27 - 17)
Nov. 16, 2011 National HR 822 Requiring State Reciprocity for Carrying Concealed Firearms Bill Passed - House (272 - 154)
Nov. 1, 2011 WI AB 69 Use of Deadly Force in Self-Defense Bill Passed - House (71 - 24)
Nov. 1, 2011 WI AB 69 Use of Deadly Force in Self-Defense Bill Passed - House (71 - 24)
Nov. 1, 2011 WI AB 147 Inadmissibility of Apology Statements by Health Care Providers Bill Passed - House (62 - 33)
Oct. 27, 2011 IL SB 1701 Legal Immunity for Individuals Seeking Treatment for Drug Overdose Bill Passed - House (61 - 53)
Oct. 27, 2011 IL SB 1701 Legal Immunity for Individuals Seeking Treatment for Drug Overdose Bill Passed - House (61 - 53)
Oct. 27, 2011 WI SB 12 Limits Attorney Fees in Consumer Cases Bill Passed - Senate (17 - 15)
Oct. 21, 2011 National S Amdt 753 Prohibits the Use of Funds for Prosecution of Enemy Combatants in Civilian Courts Amendment Rejected - Senate (47 - 52)
Oct. 21, 2011 National S Amdt 753 Prohibits the Use of Funds for Prosecution of Enemy Combatants in Civilian Courts Amendment Rejected - Senate (47 - 52)
Oct. 21, 2011 National S Amdt 753 Prohibits the Use of Funds for Prosecution of Enemy Combatants in Civilian Courts Amendment Rejected - Senate (47 - 52)
Oct. 4, 2011 National HR 2608 Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012 Concurrence Vote Passed - House (352 - 66)
Sept. 26, 2011 National HR 2608 Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012 Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (79 - 12)
Sept. 23, 2011 National S Amdt 655 Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012 Amendment Tabled - Senate (59 - 36)
Sept. 21, 2011 National HR 2608 Stopgap Spending and Disaster Relief Concurrence Vote Failed - House (195 - 230)
Sept. 15, 2011 National S Amdt 602 Emergency Disaster Relief Appropriations Amendment Adopted - Senate (62 - 37)
Sept. 14, 2011 NH SB 88 Civil Immunity from Acts of Self Defense Veto Override Passed - House (251 - 111)
Sept. 14, 2011 NH SB 88 Civil Immunity from Acts of Self Defense Veto Override Passed - House (251 - 111)
Sept. 9, 2011 MO HB 1 Authority Over the Saint Louis Police Department Bill Passed - House (123 - 27)
Sept. 9, 2011 MO HB 6 Appropriations for Missouri Disaster Relief Bill Passed - House (127 - 22)
Sept. 8, 2011 National HR 1249 Patent Law Amendments Bill Passed - Senate (89 - 9)
Sept. 7, 2011 NH SB 88 Civil Immunity from Acts of Self Defense Veto Override Passed - Senate (17 - 7)
Sept. 7, 2011 NH SB 88 Civil Immunity from Acts of Self Defense Veto Override Passed - Senate (17 - 7)
Sept. 7, 2011 NH SB 129 Requiring Photo Identification to Vote Veto Override Failed - Senate (7 - 17)
July 14, 2011 CA SB 249 Prohibits Firearms with Detachable Magazines Bill Passed - House (48 - 21)
July 1, 2011 DE SB 65 Expansion of Criminal Nuisance Definition Bill Passed - House (26 - 15)
June 30, 2011 PA HB 960 Public Assistance Program Amendments Concurrence Vote Passed - House (130 - 66)
June 30, 2011 PA HB 960 Public Assistance Program Amendments Bill Passed - Senate (35 - 15)
June 30, 2011 RI S 400 Voter Identification Requirements Bill Passed - House (51 - 22)
June 27, 2011 PA SB 1131 Tort Amendments Bill Passed - House (116 - 83)
June 23, 2011 National HR 1249 Patent Law Amendments Bill Passed - House (304 - 117)
June 23, 2011 PA HB 934 Amends Voter Identification Laws Bill Passed - House (108 - 88)
June 21, 2011 WI SB 93 Weapons Law Amendments Bill Passed - House (68 - 27)
June 21, 2011 LA HB 7 Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients Bill Failed - Senate (20 - 12)
June 21, 2011 PA SB 1131 Tort Amendments Bill Passed - Senate (32 - 18)
June 16, 2011 NC SB 9 Death Penalty Discrimination Bill Passed - House (64 - 52)
June 15, 2011 OH SB 17 Authorizes Concealed Handguns at Alcohol Vendors Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (25 - 7)
June 15, 2011 OH SB 17 Authorizes Concealed Handguns at Alcohol Vendors Bill Passed - House (56 - 39)
June 14, 2011 WI SB 93 Weapons Law Amendments Bill Passed - Senate (25 - 8)
June 10, 2011 ME LD 1376 Repeal Same-Day Voter Registration Bill Passed - Senate (17 - 14)
June 9, 2011 ME LD 1376 Repeals Same-Day Voter Registration Bill Passed - House (72 - 65)
June 8, 2011 WI SB 116 Relating to Overseas Absentee Voting Bill Passed - Senate (20 - 13)
June 7, 2011 ME LD 1463 Penalties for Violent Offenses Against Fetuses "Ought to Pass as Amended" Report Not Adopted - House (66 - 81)
June 7, 2011 CT SB 1014 Penalties For Certain Nonviolent Drug Offenses Bill Passed - House (90 - 57)
June 7, 2011 CT SB 1014 Penalties For Certain Nonviolent Drug Offenses Bill Passed - House (90 - 57)
June 7, 2011 LA HB 138 Parole Eligibility for Elderly Inmates Bill Passed - House (65 - 25)
June 6, 2011 OR SB 347 Exemptions from Disclosure of Public Records Bill Passed - House (46 - 12)
June 6, 2011 ME LD 1463 Penalties for Violent Offenses Against Fetuses "Ought to Pass as Amended" Report Not Adopted - Senate (15 - 18)
June 4, 2011 CT SB 1014 Penalties For Certain Nonviolent Drug Offenses Bill Passed - Senate (18 - 18)
June 4, 2011 CT SB 1014 Penalties For Certain Nonviolent Drug Offenses Bill Passed - Senate (18 - 18)
June 2, 2011 National H Amdt 406 Transportation Security Administration Appropriations Amendment Adopted - House (219 - 204)
June 2, 2011 National H Amdt 385 Prohibiting Funds From Being Used in Contradiction to the War Powers Resolution Amendment Rejected - House (208 - 213)
June 2, 2011 National H Amdt 398 Prohibiting the Use of Funds for Transportation Security Administration Collective Bargaining Amendment Adopted - House (218 - 205)
June 2, 2011 National HR 2017 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act Bill Passed - House (231 - 188)
May 30, 2011 NV AB 301 Voting Privileges for Felons Bill Passed - Senate (13 - 8)
May 30, 2011 NV AB 136 Governing Credits for Offenders Bill Passed - Senate (11 - 10)
May 28, 2011 TX HB 1 2011-2013 Budget Conference Report Adopted - House (97 - 53)
May 28, 2011 TX HB 1 2011-2013 Budget Conference Report Adopted - Senate (20 - 11)
May 27, 2011 NV AB 552 DNA Samples for Felony Charges Bill Passed - House (31 - 11)
May 27, 2011 NV AB 552 DNA Samples for Felony Charges Bill Passed - House (31 - 11)
May 26, 2011 National S 990 PATRIOT Act Extension Concurrence Vote Passed - House (250 - 153)
May 26, 2011 National S 990 PATRIOT Act Extension Concurrence Vote Passed - House (250 - 153)
May 26, 2011 National S 990 PATRIOT Act Extension Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (72 - 23)
May 26, 2011 National S 990 PATRIOT Act Extension Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (72 - 23)
May 25, 2011 TX HB 359 Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Concurrence Vote Passed - House (80 - 64)
May 23, 2011 TX HB 359 Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Bill Passed - Senate (29 - 2)
May 23, 2011 National S 1038 PATRIOT Act Extension Cloture Invoked - Senate (74 - 8)
May 23, 2011 National S 1038 PATRIOT Act Extension Cloture Invoked - Senate (74 - 8)
May 20, 2011 TN SB 16 Voter Identification Requirements Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (18 - 14)
May 17, 2011 LA HB 7 Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients Bill Passed - House (67 - 26)
May 16, 2011 TX SB 14 Voter Identification Requirements Conference Report Adopted - House (98 - 46)
May 16, 2011 CA AB 144 Concealed Weapons Bill Bill Passed - House (46 - 29)
May 13, 2011 TX HB 359 Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Bill Passed - House (84 - 55)
May 12, 2011 RI S 400 Voter Identification Requirements Bill Passed - Senate (27 - 6)
May 11, 2011 SC H 3003 Voter ID Conference Report Adopted - Senate (26 - 16)
May 11, 2011 KS SB 129 Amends Voter Identification Requirements Conference Report Rejected - Senate (15 - 23)
May 10, 2011 MO HB 73 Drug Testing Of Welfare Recipients Concurrence Vote Passed - House (113 - 34)
May 9, 2011 TX SB 14 Voter Identification Requirements Conference Report Adopted - Senate (19 - 12)
May 9, 2011 TX SB 1581 Concealed Handguns on Campus Bill Passed - Senate (20 - 11)
May 5, 2011 FL HB 353 Drug Screening for Temporary Assistance Beneficiaries Bill Passed - Senate (26 - 11)
May 4, 2011 TX HB 1 2011-2013 Budget Bill Passed - Senate (19 - 12)
May 4, 2011 FL SB 234 Authorizes Open Display of a Firearm Bill Passed - House (99 - 17)
May 4, 2011 LA HB 52 Increasing New Orleans Traffic Court Costs Bill Failed - House (49 - 22)
April 28, 2011 MT HB 271 Authorizes Concealed-Carry Without a Permit Conference Report Adopted - Senate (29 - 21)
April 28, 2011 MO HB 73 Drug Testing Of Welfare Recipients Bill Passed - Senate (29 - 5)
April 28, 2011 FL HB 45 Regulation of Firearms and Ammunition Bill Passed - Senate (30 - 8)
April 28, 2011 FL SB 234 Authorizes Open Display of a Firearm Bill Passed - Senate (26 - 11)
April 26, 2011 SC H 3003 Voter ID Conference Report Adopted - House (71 - 36)
April 26, 2011 FL HB 353 Drug Screening for Temporary Assistance Beneficiaries Bill Passed - House (78 - 38)
April 26, 2011 FL HB 45 Regulation of Firearms and Ammunition Bill Passed - House (85 - 33)
April 25, 2011 NV SB 180 Criminal and Civil Liability for Gender Identity Crimes Bill Failed - Senate (10 - 11)
Date No. Title Outcome
12/15 HR 1540 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 Conference Report Adopted - Senate (86 - 13)
12/14 HR 1540 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 Conference Report Adopted - House (283 - 136)
12/01 S Amdt 1125 Limits New Detention Rules to Prisoners Captured Outside the U.S. Amendment Rejected - Senate (45 - 55)
12/01 S Amdt 1126 Prohibits Detention of U.S. Citizens Without Trial Amendment Rejected - Senate (45 - 55)
12/01 S Amdt 1126 Prohibits Detention of U.S. Citizens Without Trial Amendment Rejected - Senate (45 - 55)
12/01 S Amdt 1274 Authorizes Further Detention After Trial During Wartime Amendment Rejected - Senate (41 - 59)
12/01 S Amdt 1274 Authorizes Further Detention After Trial During Wartime Amendment Rejected - Senate (41 - 59)
12/01 S Amdt 1125 Limits New Detention Rules to Prisoners Captured Outside the U.S. Amendment Rejected - Senate (45 - 55)
11/29 S Amdt 1107 Removes Provisions Requiring Military Custody of al-Qaeda Suspects Amendment Rejected - Senate (38 - 60)
11/28 SB 9 Death Penalty Discrimination Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (27 - 17)
11/16 HR 822 Requiring State Reciprocity for Carrying Concealed Firearms Bill Passed - House (272 - 154)
11/01 AB 69 Use of Deadly Force in Self-Defense Bill Passed - House (71 - 24)
11/01 AB 69 Use of Deadly Force in Self-Defense Bill Passed - House (71 - 24)
11/01 AB 147 Inadmissibility of Apology Statements by Health Care Providers Bill Passed - House (62 - 33)
10/27 SB 1701 Legal Immunity for Individuals Seeking Treatment for Drug Overdose Bill Passed - House (61 - 53)
10/27 SB 1701 Legal Immunity for Individuals Seeking Treatment for Drug Overdose Bill Passed - House (61 - 53)
10/27 SB 12 Limits Attorney Fees in Consumer Cases Bill Passed - Senate (17 - 15)
10/21 S Amdt 753 Prohibits the Use of Funds for Prosecution of Enemy Combatants in Civilian Courts Amendment Rejected - Senate (47 - 52)
10/21 S Amdt 753 Prohibits the Use of Funds for Prosecution of Enemy Combatants in Civilian Courts Amendment Rejected - Senate (47 - 52)
10/21 S Amdt 753 Prohibits the Use of Funds for Prosecution of Enemy Combatants in Civilian Courts Amendment Rejected - Senate (47 - 52)
10/04 HR 2608 Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012 Concurrence Vote Passed - House (352 - 66)
9/26 HR 2608 Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012 Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (79 - 12)
9/23 S Amdt 655 Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012 Amendment Tabled - Senate (59 - 36)
9/21 HR 2608 Stopgap Spending and Disaster Relief Concurrence Vote Failed - House (195 - 230)
9/15 S Amdt 602 Emergency Disaster Relief Appropriations Amendment Adopted - Senate (62 - 37)
9/14 SB 88 Civil Immunity from Acts of Self Defense Veto Override Passed - House (251 - 111)
9/14 SB 88 Civil Immunity from Acts of Self Defense Veto Override Passed - House (251 - 111)
9/09 HB 1 Authority Over the Saint Louis Police Department Bill Passed - House (123 - 27)
9/09 HB 6 Appropriations for Missouri Disaster Relief Bill Passed - House (127 - 22)
9/08 HR 1249 Patent Law Amendments Bill Passed - Senate (89 - 9)
9/07 SB 88 Civil Immunity from Acts of Self Defense Veto Override Passed - Senate (17 - 7)
9/07 SB 88 Civil Immunity from Acts of Self Defense Veto Override Passed - Senate (17 - 7)
9/07 SB 129 Requiring Photo Identification to Vote Veto Override Failed - Senate (7 - 17)
7/14 SB 249 Prohibits Firearms with Detachable Magazines Bill Passed - House (48 - 21)
7/01 SB 65 Expansion of Criminal Nuisance Definition Bill Passed - House (26 - 15)
6/30 HB 960 Public Assistance Program Amendments Concurrence Vote Passed - House (130 - 66)
6/30 HB 960 Public Assistance Program Amendments Bill Passed - Senate (35 - 15)
6/30 S 400 Voter Identification Requirements Bill Passed - House (51 - 22)
6/27 SB 1131 Tort Amendments Bill Passed - House (116 - 83)
6/23 HR 1249 Patent Law Amendments Bill Passed - House (304 - 117)
6/23 HB 934 Amends Voter Identification Laws Bill Passed - House (108 - 88)
6/21 SB 93 Weapons Law Amendments Bill Passed - House (68 - 27)
6/21 HB 7 Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients Bill Failed - Senate (20 - 12)
6/21 SB 1131 Tort Amendments Bill Passed - Senate (32 - 18)
6/16 SB 9 Death Penalty Discrimination Bill Passed - House (64 - 52)
6/15 SB 17 Authorizes Concealed Handguns at Alcohol Vendors Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (25 - 7)
6/15 SB 17 Authorizes Concealed Handguns at Alcohol Vendors Bill Passed - House (56 - 39)
6/14 SB 93 Weapons Law Amendments Bill Passed - Senate (25 - 8)
6/10 LD 1376 Repeal Same-Day Voter Registration Bill Passed - Senate (17 - 14)
6/09 LD 1376 Repeals Same-Day Voter Registration Bill Passed - House (72 - 65)
6/08 SB 116 Relating to Overseas Absentee Voting Bill Passed - Senate (20 - 13)
6/07 LD 1463 Penalties for Violent Offenses Against Fetuses "Ought to Pass as Amended" Report Not Adopted - House (66 - 81)
6/07 SB 1014 Penalties For Certain Nonviolent Drug Offenses Bill Passed - House (90 - 57)
6/07 SB 1014 Penalties For Certain Nonviolent Drug Offenses Bill Passed - House (90 - 57)
6/07 HB 138 Parole Eligibility for Elderly Inmates Bill Passed - House (65 - 25)
6/06 SB 347 Exemptions from Disclosure of Public Records Bill Passed - House (46 - 12)
6/06 LD 1463 Penalties for Violent Offenses Against Fetuses "Ought to Pass as Amended" Report Not Adopted - Senate (15 - 18)
6/04 SB 1014 Penalties For Certain Nonviolent Drug Offenses Bill Passed - Senate (18 - 18)
6/04 SB 1014 Penalties For Certain Nonviolent Drug Offenses Bill Passed - Senate (18 - 18)
6/02 H Amdt 406 Transportation Security Administration Appropriations Amendment Adopted - House (219 - 204)
6/02 H Amdt 385 Prohibiting Funds From Being Used in Contradiction to the War Powers Resolution Amendment Rejected - House (208 - 213)
6/02 H Amdt 398 Prohibiting the Use of Funds for Transportation Security Administration Collective Bargaining Amendment Adopted - House (218 - 205)
6/02 HR 2017 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act Bill Passed - House (231 - 188)
5/30 AB 301 Voting Privileges for Felons Bill Passed - Senate (13 - 8)
5/30 AB 136 Governing Credits for Offenders Bill Passed - Senate (11 - 10)
5/28 HB 1 2011-2013 Budget Conference Report Adopted - House (97 - 53)
5/28 HB 1 2011-2013 Budget Conference Report Adopted - Senate (20 - 11)
5/27 AB 552 DNA Samples for Felony Charges Bill Passed - House (31 - 11)
5/27 AB 552 DNA Samples for Felony Charges Bill Passed - House (31 - 11)
5/26 S 990 PATRIOT Act Extension Concurrence Vote Passed - House (250 - 153)
5/26 S 990 PATRIOT Act Extension Concurrence Vote Passed - House (250 - 153)
5/26 S 990 PATRIOT Act Extension Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (72 - 23)
5/26 S 990 PATRIOT Act Extension Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (72 - 23)
5/25 HB 359 Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Concurrence Vote Passed - House (80 - 64)
5/23 HB 359 Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Bill Passed - Senate (29 - 2)
5/23 S 1038 PATRIOT Act Extension Cloture Invoked - Senate (74 - 8)
5/23 S 1038 PATRIOT Act Extension Cloture Invoked - Senate (74 - 8)
5/20 SB 16 Voter Identification Requirements Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (18 - 14)
5/17 HB 7 Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients Bill Passed - House (67 - 26)
5/16 SB 14 Voter Identification Requirements Conference Report Adopted - House (98 - 46)
5/16 AB 144 Concealed Weapons Bill Bill Passed - House (46 - 29)
5/13 HB 359 Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Bill Passed - House (84 - 55)
5/12 S 400 Voter Identification Requirements Bill Passed - Senate (27 - 6)
5/11 H 3003 Voter ID Conference Report Adopted - Senate (26 - 16)
5/11 SB 129 Amends Voter Identification Requirements Conference Report Rejected - Senate (15 - 23)
5/10 HB 73 Drug Testing Of Welfare Recipients Concurrence Vote Passed - House (113 - 34)
5/09 SB 14 Voter Identification Requirements Conference Report Adopted - Senate (19 - 12)
5/09 SB 1581 Concealed Handguns on Campus Bill Passed - Senate (20 - 11)
5/05 HB 353 Drug Screening for Temporary Assistance Beneficiaries Bill Passed - Senate (26 - 11)
5/04 HB 1 2011-2013 Budget Bill Passed - Senate (19 - 12)
5/04 SB 234 Authorizes Open Display of a Firearm Bill Passed - House (99 - 17)
5/04 HB 52 Increasing New Orleans Traffic Court Costs Bill Failed - House (49 - 22)
4/28 HB 271 Authorizes Concealed-Carry Without a Permit Conference Report Adopted - Senate (29 - 21)
4/28 HB 73 Drug Testing Of Welfare Recipients Bill Passed - Senate (29 - 5)
4/28 HB 45 Regulation of Firearms and Ammunition Bill Passed - Senate (30 - 8)
4/28 SB 234 Authorizes Open Display of a Firearm Bill Passed - Senate (26 - 11)
4/26 H 3003 Voter ID Conference Report Adopted - House (71 - 36)
4/26 HB 353 Drug Screening for Temporary Assistance Beneficiaries Bill Passed - House (78 - 38)
4/26 HB 45 Regulation of Firearms and Ammunition Bill Passed - House (85 - 33)
4/25 SB 180 Criminal and Civil Liability for Gender Identity Crimes Bill Failed - Senate (10 - 11)

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