Key Votes

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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. Our summaries are written by Vote Smart's staff and interns, who adhere to our strict policies and procedures in order to guarantee absolute impartiality and accuracy. They do not necessarily reflect the content of the final version of the bill, but rather the version voted on in that stage. While many procedural votes take place before a full chamber vote, our voting stages reflect the final reading of each chamber vote. Each key vote selection is reviewed by the project's community of advisors, who are political scientists and journalists from all fifty states.

For more information about the legislative process, see here.


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Date State Bill No. Title Outcome
Dec. 14, 2011 MI SB618 Repeals Limit on Number of Charter Schools Bill Passed - House (58 - 49)
Dec. 14, 2011 PA H Amdt 7732 Tuition Vouchers for Charter Schools Amendment Rejected - House (90 - 105)
Nov. 30, 2011 NH CACR 14 Constitutional Amendment Authorizing the Legislature to Set Standards for Public Education Amendment Rejected - House (114 - 264)
Nov. 17, 2011 National HR 2112 Appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, and the Food and Drug Administration Conference Report Adopted - Senate (70 - 30)
Nov. 17, 2011 National HR 2112 Appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, and the Food and Drug Administration Conference Report Adopted - House (298 - 121)
Nov. 10, 2011 IL SB 2147 Paying Regional Superintendents Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (38 - 16)
Nov. 9, 2011 MI HB 4005 School Board Election Dates Concurrence Vote Passed - House (69 - 39)
Nov. 9, 2011 IL SB 2147 Paying Regional Superintendents Bill Failed - House (70 - 43)
Nov. 9, 2011 ND SB 2370 Authorizes Changing the Nickname and Logo of the University of North Dakota Bill Passed - House (63 - 31)
Nov. 9, 2011 IL SB 2147 Paying Regional Superintendents Bill Passed - House (74 - 36)
Nov. 8, 2011 ND SB 2370 Authorizes Changing the Nickname and Logo of the University of North Dakota Bill Passed - Senate (39 - 7)
Nov. 3, 2011 MI HB 4005 School Board Election Dates Bill Passed - Senate (24 - 14)
Nov. 2, 2011 MI SB 137 Bullying Law Amendments Bill Passed - Senate (26 - 11)
Nov. 2, 2011 WI SB 237 Amending Sexual Education Guidelines Bill Passed - Senate (17 - 15)
Nov. 1, 2011 WI SB 45 Administration of Medications to Students Bill Passed - House (63 - 32)
Oct. 27, 2011 MI SB 619 Cyber Schools Bill Passed - Senate (20 - 18)
Oct. 26, 2011 PA SB 1 Charter School Guidelines Bill Passed - Senate (27 - 22)
Oct. 25, 2011 WI SB 45 Administration of Medications to Students Bill Passed - Senate (18 - 15)
Oct. 20, 2011 WI SB 95 Evaluating Teacher Performance Using Standardized Test Scores Bill Passed - Senate (17 - 16)
Oct. 11, 2011 National S 1660 American Jobs Act of 2011 Cloture Not Invoked - Senate (50 - 49)
Sept. 26, 2011 NJ A 2806 Conversion of Certain Private Schools to Charter Schools Bill Passed - Senate (25 - 13)
Sept. 6, 2011 CA AB 165 Prohibits Public Schools from Charging Fees for Educational Activities Concurrence Vote Passed - House (51 - 24)
Sept. 1, 2011 CA SB 185 Considering Race, Ethnicity and Gender in College Admissions Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (23 - 15)
Sept. 1, 2011 CA AB 165 Prohibits Public Schools from Charging Fees for Educational Activities Bill Passed - Senate (23 - 15)
Aug. 30, 2011 CA SB 161 Administration of Epilepsy Medication in Schools Bill Passed - House (46 - 21)
Aug. 29, 2011 CA SB 185 Considering Race, Ethnicity and Gender in College Admissions Bill Passed - House (49 - 28)
Aug. 24, 2011 MI HB 4005 School Board Election Dates Bill Passed - House (72 - 36)
July 19, 2011 MN HF 4 Higher Education Appropriations Bill Passed - Senate (35 - 30)
July 19, 2011 MN HF 26 2011-2013 Biennium Education Budget Bill Passed - Senate (36 - 28)
July 19, 2011 MN HF 26 2011-2013 Biennium Education Budget Bill Passed - House (71 - 56)
July 19, 2011 MN HF 4 Higher Education Appropriations Bill Passed - House (71 - 57)
July 14, 2011 CA AB 130 Authorizes Student Financial Aid for Undocumented Immigrants Bill Passed - Senate (26 - 11)
July 5, 2011 CA SB 48 Requires Teaching Gay History Bill Passed - House (50 - 26)
June 30, 2011 PA SB 330 Amending The Taxpayer Relief Act Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (32 - 17)
June 30, 2011 MI HB 4628 Amends Collective Bargaining Rights for Public Teachers Concurrence Vote Passed - House (58 - 50)
June 30, 2011 MI HB 4628 Amends Collective Bargaining Rights for Public Teachers Bill Passed - Senate (20 - 18)
June 30, 2011 PA SB 330 Amending The Taxpayer Relief Act Bill Passed - House (109 - 86)
June 30, 2011 MI HB 4625 Teacher Tenure Standards Bill Passed - Senate (25 - 13)
June 30, 2011 MI HB 4625 Teacher Tenure Standards Concurrence Vote Passed - House (66 - 42)
June 29, 2011 NJ A 2806 Conversion of Certain Private Schools to Charter Schools Bill Passed - House (59 - 14)
June 23, 2011 DE HB 100 Background Checks for Contractors on School Premises Bill Failed - Senate (10 - 5)
June 21, 2011 OR HB 2301 Online Charter School Enrollment Bill Passed - Senate (17 - 12)
June 21, 2011 OR SB 552 Establishes the Governor as the Superintendent of Public Instruction Bill Passed - House (38 - 22)
June 21, 2011 OR HB 2301 Online Charter School Enrollment Bill Passed - House (33 - 27)
June 20, 2011 OR SB 909 Appropriates Education Funds Bill Passed - Senate (21 - 8)
June 20, 2011 OR SB 250 Authorizing School Districts To Withdraw From Education Service Districts Bill Passed - Senate (18 - 11)
June 16, 2011 TX SB 8 Management and Operation of Public Schools Bill Passed - House (81 - 55)
June 10, 2011 TX SB 1 2011-2013 Biennium Education Budget Bill Passed - House (83 - 62)
June 9, 2011 AL HB 123 Education Appropriations for 2011-2012 Veto Override Passed - House (78 - 21)
June 8, 2011 CT SB 1152 Funding for Construction at the University of Connecticut Health Center Bill Passed - House (97 - 45)
June 6, 2011 TX SB 8 Management and Operation of Public Schools Bill Passed - Senate (18 - 12)
June 3, 2011 TX SB 1 2011-2013 Biennium Education Budget Bill Passed - Senate (19 - 12)
June 1, 2011 CA AB 131 In-State College Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants Bill Passed - House (50 - 27)
June 1, 2011 CT SB 1152 Funding for Construction at the University of Connecticut Health Center Bill Passed - Senate (24 - 11)
May 30, 2011 NV AB 136 Governing Credits for Offenders Bill Passed - Senate (11 - 10)
May 30, 2011 IL SB 2185 Establishes the DREAM Fund Commission Bill Passed - House (61 - 53)
May 29, 2011 TX SB 1811 Reduces Funding for State Agencies Conference Report Adopted - House (84 - 63)
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 26, 2011 MI HB 4325 Education Appropriations for 2011-2013 Conference Report Adopted - Senate (21 - 17)
May 26, 2011 MI HB 4325 Education Appropriations for 2011-2013 Conference Report Adopted - House (59 - 50)
May 25, 2011 TX HB 359 Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Concurrence Vote Passed - House (80 - 64)
May 25, 2011 SC H 3407 Establishing a School Voucher Program Bill Tabled - House (60 - 59)
May 25, 2011 LA SB 6 Teacher Retirement Bill Failed - Senate (17 - 19)
May 24, 2011 CT HB 6390 Access to Postsecondary Education Bill Passed - Senate (21 - 14)
May 23, 2011 TX HB 359 Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Bill Passed - Senate (29 - 2)
May 20, 2011 TN SB 113 Teachers' Unions Negotiations Conference Report Adopted - House (55 - 40)
May 20, 2011 TN SB 113 Teachers' Unions Negotiations Conference Report Adopted - Senate (19 - 12)
May 20, 2011 TN SB 49 Prohibits Instruction of Non-Heterosexual Human Sexuality in Schools Bill Passed - Senate (19 - 10)
May 19, 2011 LA HB 112 Bullying in Public Schools Bill Failed - House (43 - 54)
May 18, 2011 NH SB 196 Guidelines for Teacher Dismissal Bill Passed - House (253 - 105)
May 13, 2011 TX HB 359 Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Bill Passed - House (84 - 55)
May 12, 2011 MI HB 4481 Public School Employees' Pension and Tax Exemption Bill Passed - Senate (19 - 19)
May 12, 2011 CT HB 6390 Access to Postsecondary Education Bill Passed - House (77 - 63)
May 11, 2011 PA SB 612 Guidelines for Teacher Suspension Bill Passed - Senate (38 - 12)
May 10, 2011 NV AB 568 2011-2013 Education Appropriations Bill Passed - Senate (11 - 10)
May 10, 2011 NV AB 568 2011-2013 Education Appropriations Bill Passed - House (26 - 16)
May 9, 2011 TX SB 1581 Concealed Handguns on Campus Bill Passed - Senate (20 - 11)
May 6, 2011 VT H 436 Tax Law Amendments Conference Report Adopted - House (94 - 48)
May 5, 2011 VT H 436 Tax Law Amendments Conference Report Adopted - Senate (17 - 10)
May 5, 2011 MI HB 4325 Education Appropriations for 2011-2013 Bill Passed - House (57 - 53)
May 5, 2011 CA AB 130 Authorizes Student Financial Aid for Undocumented Immigrants Bill Passed - House (51 - 22)
May 4, 2011 TX HB 1 2011-2013 Budget Bill Passed - Senate (19 - 12)
May 4, 2011 IL SB 2185 Establishes the DREAM Fund Commission Bill Passed - Senate (45 - 11)
May 4, 2011 National HR 1214 Repealing Funding for School-Based Health Center Construction Bill Passed - House (235 - 191)
May 2, 2011 TN SB 113 Teachers' Unions Negotiations Bill Passed - Senate (18 - 14)
April 28, 2011 MT SB 329 Oil and Natural Gas Revenue for Schools Conference Report Adopted - Senate (31 - 19)
April 28, 2011 MT SB 329 Oil and Natural Gas Revenue for Schools Conference Report Adopted - House (50 - 49)
April 28, 2011 NC HB 546 Alternative Teacher Salary Plans Bill Passed - House (72 - 42)
April 28, 2011 MI HB 4481 Public School Employees' Pension and Tax Exemption Bill Passed - House (56 - 50)
April 27, 2011 IN HB 1002 Charter School Amendments Concurrence Vote Passed - House (61 - 37)
April 27, 2011 IN HB 1003 School Vouchers Concurrence Vote Passed - House (56 - 43)
April 25, 2011 OR HB 2732 High School Diploma Requirements Bill Passed - House (33 - 26)
April 21, 2011 IN HB 1003 School Vouchers Bill Passed - Senate (28 - 22)
April 21, 2011 TN SB 485 Equal Opportunity Scholarship Act Bill Passed - Senate (18 - 10)
April 20, 2011 OR HB 3555 Qualifications for Superintendents of Public Schools Bill Passed - House (38 - 22)
April 19, 2011 IN SB 575 Collective Bargaining for School Employees Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (30 - 19)
April 18, 2011 CO SB 126 In-State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants Bill Passed - Senate (20 - 15)
April 14, 2011 CA SB 48 Requires Teaching Gay History Bill Passed - Senate (23 - 14)
April 13, 2011 IN SB 575 Collective Bargaining for School Employees Bill Passed - House (52 - 40)
Date No. Title Outcome
12/14 SB618 Repeals Limit on Number of Charter Schools Bill Passed - House (58 - 49)
12/14 H Amdt 7732 Tuition Vouchers for Charter Schools Amendment Rejected - House (90 - 105)
11/30 CACR 14 Constitutional Amendment Authorizing the Legislature to Set Standards for Public Education Amendment Rejected - House (114 - 264)
11/17 HR 2112 Appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, and the Food and Drug Administration Conference Report Adopted - Senate (70 - 30)
11/17 HR 2112 Appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, and the Food and Drug Administration Conference Report Adopted - House (298 - 121)
11/10 SB 2147 Paying Regional Superintendents Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (38 - 16)
11/09 HB 4005 School Board Election Dates Concurrence Vote Passed - House (69 - 39)
11/09 SB 2147 Paying Regional Superintendents Bill Failed - House (70 - 43)
11/09 SB 2370 Authorizes Changing the Nickname and Logo of the University of North Dakota Bill Passed - House (63 - 31)
11/09 SB 2147 Paying Regional Superintendents Bill Passed - House (74 - 36)
11/08 SB 2370 Authorizes Changing the Nickname and Logo of the University of North Dakota Bill Passed - Senate (39 - 7)
11/03 HB 4005 School Board Election Dates Bill Passed - Senate (24 - 14)
11/02 SB 137 Bullying Law Amendments Bill Passed - Senate (26 - 11)
11/02 SB 237 Amending Sexual Education Guidelines Bill Passed - Senate (17 - 15)
11/01 SB 45 Administration of Medications to Students Bill Passed - House (63 - 32)
10/27 SB 619 Cyber Schools Bill Passed - Senate (20 - 18)
10/26 SB 1 Charter School Guidelines Bill Passed - Senate (27 - 22)
10/25 SB 45 Administration of Medications to Students Bill Passed - Senate (18 - 15)
10/20 SB 95 Evaluating Teacher Performance Using Standardized Test Scores Bill Passed - Senate (17 - 16)
10/11 S 1660 American Jobs Act of 2011 Cloture Not Invoked - Senate (50 - 49)
9/26 A 2806 Conversion of Certain Private Schools to Charter Schools Bill Passed - Senate (25 - 13)
9/06 AB 165 Prohibits Public Schools from Charging Fees for Educational Activities Concurrence Vote Passed - House (51 - 24)
9/01 SB 185 Considering Race, Ethnicity and Gender in College Admissions Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (23 - 15)
9/01 AB 165 Prohibits Public Schools from Charging Fees for Educational Activities Bill Passed - Senate (23 - 15)
8/30 SB 161 Administration of Epilepsy Medication in Schools Bill Passed - House (46 - 21)
8/29 SB 185 Considering Race, Ethnicity and Gender in College Admissions Bill Passed - House (49 - 28)
8/24 HB 4005 School Board Election Dates Bill Passed - House (72 - 36)
7/19 HF 4 Higher Education Appropriations Bill Passed - Senate (35 - 30)
7/19 HF 26 2011-2013 Biennium Education Budget Bill Passed - Senate (36 - 28)
7/19 HF 26 2011-2013 Biennium Education Budget Bill Passed - House (71 - 56)
7/19 HF 4 Higher Education Appropriations Bill Passed - House (71 - 57)
7/14 AB 130 Authorizes Student Financial Aid for Undocumented Immigrants Bill Passed - Senate (26 - 11)
7/05 SB 48 Requires Teaching Gay History Bill Passed - House (50 - 26)
6/30 SB 330 Amending The Taxpayer Relief Act Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (32 - 17)
6/30 HB 4628 Amends Collective Bargaining Rights for Public Teachers Concurrence Vote Passed - House (58 - 50)
6/30 HB 4628 Amends Collective Bargaining Rights for Public Teachers Bill Passed - Senate (20 - 18)
6/30 SB 330 Amending The Taxpayer Relief Act Bill Passed - House (109 - 86)
6/30 HB 4625 Teacher Tenure Standards Bill Passed - Senate (25 - 13)
6/30 HB 4625 Teacher Tenure Standards Concurrence Vote Passed - House (66 - 42)
6/29 A 2806 Conversion of Certain Private Schools to Charter Schools Bill Passed - House (59 - 14)
6/23 HB 100 Background Checks for Contractors on School Premises Bill Failed - Senate (10 - 5)
6/21 HB 2301 Online Charter School Enrollment Bill Passed - Senate (17 - 12)
6/21 SB 552 Establishes the Governor as the Superintendent of Public Instruction Bill Passed - House (38 - 22)
6/21 HB 2301 Online Charter School Enrollment Bill Passed - House (33 - 27)
6/20 SB 909 Appropriates Education Funds Bill Passed - Senate (21 - 8)
6/20 SB 250 Authorizing School Districts To Withdraw From Education Service Districts Bill Passed - Senate (18 - 11)
6/16 SB 8 Management and Operation of Public Schools Bill Passed - House (81 - 55)
6/10 SB 1 2011-2013 Biennium Education Budget Bill Passed - House (83 - 62)
6/09 HB 123 Education Appropriations for 2011-2012 Veto Override Passed - House (78 - 21)
6/08 SB 1152 Funding for Construction at the University of Connecticut Health Center Bill Passed - House (97 - 45)
6/06 SB 8 Management and Operation of Public Schools Bill Passed - Senate (18 - 12)
6/03 SB 1 2011-2013 Biennium Education Budget Bill Passed - Senate (19 - 12)
6/01 AB 131 In-State College Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants Bill Passed - House (50 - 27)
6/01 SB 1152 Funding for Construction at the University of Connecticut Health Center Bill Passed - Senate (24 - 11)
5/30 AB 136 Governing Credits for Offenders Bill Passed - Senate (11 - 10)
5/30 SB 2185 Establishes the DREAM Fund Commission Bill Passed - House (61 - 53)
5/29 SB 1811 Reduces Funding for State Agencies Conference Report Adopted - House (84 - 63)
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)
5/26 HB 4325 Education Appropriations for 2011-2013 Conference Report Adopted - Senate (21 - 17)
5/26 HB 4325 Education Appropriations for 2011-2013 Conference Report Adopted - House (59 - 50)
5/25 HB 359 Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Concurrence Vote Passed - House (80 - 64)
5/25 H 3407 Establishing a School Voucher Program Bill Tabled - House (60 - 59)
5/25 SB 6 Teacher Retirement Bill Failed - Senate (17 - 19)
5/24 HB 6390 Access to Postsecondary Education Bill Passed - Senate (21 - 14)
5/23 HB 359 Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Bill Passed - Senate (29 - 2)
5/20 SB 113 Teachers' Unions Negotiations Conference Report Adopted - House (55 - 40)
5/20 SB 113 Teachers' Unions Negotiations Conference Report Adopted - Senate (19 - 12)
5/20 SB 49 Prohibits Instruction of Non-Heterosexual Human Sexuality in Schools Bill Passed - Senate (19 - 10)
5/19 HB 112 Bullying in Public Schools Bill Failed - House (43 - 54)
5/18 SB 196 Guidelines for Teacher Dismissal Bill Passed - House (253 - 105)
5/13 HB 359 Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Bill Passed - House (84 - 55)
5/12 HB 4481 Public School Employees' Pension and Tax Exemption Bill Passed - Senate (19 - 19)
5/12 HB 6390 Access to Postsecondary Education Bill Passed - House (77 - 63)
5/11 SB 612 Guidelines for Teacher Suspension Bill Passed - Senate (38 - 12)
5/10 AB 568 2011-2013 Education Appropriations Bill Passed - Senate (11 - 10)
5/10 AB 568 2011-2013 Education Appropriations Bill Passed - House (26 - 16)
5/09 SB 1581 Concealed Handguns on Campus Bill Passed - Senate (20 - 11)
5/06 H 436 Tax Law Amendments Conference Report Adopted - House (94 - 48)
5/05 H 436 Tax Law Amendments Conference Report Adopted - Senate (17 - 10)
5/05 HB 4325 Education Appropriations for 2011-2013 Bill Passed - House (57 - 53)
5/05 AB 130 Authorizes Student Financial Aid for Undocumented Immigrants Bill Passed - House (51 - 22)
5/04 HB 1 2011-2013 Budget Bill Passed - Senate (19 - 12)
5/04 SB 2185 Establishes the DREAM Fund Commission Bill Passed - Senate (45 - 11)
5/04 HR 1214 Repealing Funding for School-Based Health Center Construction Bill Passed - House (235 - 191)
5/02 SB 113 Teachers' Unions Negotiations Bill Passed - Senate (18 - 14)
4/28 SB 329 Oil and Natural Gas Revenue for Schools Conference Report Adopted - Senate (31 - 19)
4/28 SB 329 Oil and Natural Gas Revenue for Schools Conference Report Adopted - House (50 - 49)
4/28 HB 546 Alternative Teacher Salary Plans Bill Passed - House (72 - 42)
4/28 HB 4481 Public School Employees' Pension and Tax Exemption Bill Passed - House (56 - 50)
4/27 HB 1002 Charter School Amendments Concurrence Vote Passed - House (61 - 37)
4/27 HB 1003 School Vouchers Concurrence Vote Passed - House (56 - 43)
4/25 HB 2732 High School Diploma Requirements Bill Passed - House (33 - 26)
4/21 HB 1003 School Vouchers Bill Passed - Senate (28 - 22)
4/21 SB 485 Equal Opportunity Scholarship Act Bill Passed - Senate (18 - 10)
4/20 HB 3555 Qualifications for Superintendents of Public Schools Bill Passed - House (38 - 22)
4/19 SB 575 Collective Bargaining for School Employees Concurrence Vote Passed - Senate (30 - 19)
4/18 SB 126 In-State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants Bill Passed - Senate (20 - 15)
4/14 SB 48 Requires Teaching Gay History Bill Passed - Senate (23 - 14)
4/13 SB 575 Collective Bargaining for School Employees Bill Passed - House (52 - 40)

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