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Political scientists have long used roll call votes cast by members of the U.S. Congress to plot the legislators on the liberal-conservative dimension along which most legislative politics in our nation"s capital, as well as in Austin, now takes place.

Drawing on the data provided by roll call votes held during the combined 2011 regular and first special legislative sessions (January-June), Baker Institute political science fellow Mark P. Jones provides similar information for the members of the Texas House of Representatives.

"These data provide a window from which to view only one facet of a representative"s activities in Austin, and should thus be considered as one of many tools utilized by citizens to evaluate their elected officials," Jones writes. "Nevertheless, the analysis presented here contributes to a greater level of legislative transparency in Texas, improving the ability of all interested parties (e.g., voters, interest groups, the media and party activists) to hold elected officials accountable for the voting decisions they make on the House floor."