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Representative Merrill F. Nelson
Utah legislator profile

Years served in the Utah legislature

First session in legislature: 2013
Most recent year of service for which data are available: 2020
Total sessions served in Utah House as of 2020: 8
Total sessions served in Utah Senate as of 2020: 0

How to read the statistical profile

I present a variety of statistics about Rep. Merrill F. Nelson's service in the Utah legislature. I highlight differences from chamber averages using little green and red arrows. The number of arrows is statistically determined. More arrows indicate a larger difference compared to the chamber average, in relation to how much diversity there is among legislators on this metric. If all legislators introduce exactly 5 bills, then a legislator who introduces 10 is very different; if legislators vary wildly in how many bills they introduce (but the average is still 5), then a legislator who introduces 10 bills may be less different from average. The standard deviation measures this diversity.

Rep. Nelson's statistical profile

20132014201520162017201820192020
Service summary. Service prior to 2007 (if any) is not shown here. My database goes back only to 2007.
  Chamber HouseHouseHouseHouseHouseHouseHouseHouse
  District H68H68H68H68H68H68H68H68
  Party RRRRRRRR
Leadership NoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNoneNone
Years in chamber 12345678
Years comparison LowerLowerLowerLower====HigherHigher
 
20132014201520162017201820192020
Bills sponsored (learn more) Bills written and promoted by the legislator in his/her own chamber.
Introduced by Nelson 41646453
Chamber average 5.86.46.77.06.77.17.37.3
Difference -1.8-5.4-0.7-3.0-0.7-3.1-2.3-4.3
Comparison LowerLowerLower==Lower==LowerLowerLowerLower
 
20132014201520162017201820192020
Bill passage rate (learn more). What percent of Rep. Nelson's sponsored bills pass and are officially "enrolled"? (I ignore whether the governor signed or vetoted the bill.)
Bills introduced 41646453
Bills passed 40422313
Passage rate 100.0%0.0%66.7%50.0%33.3%75.0%20.0%100.0%
Chamber average 65.8%52.2%63.0%53.5%61.4%53.4%63.5%57.6%
Difference +34.2-52.2+3.7-3.5-28.1+21.6-43.5+42.4
Comparison HigherHigherLowerLower====LowerLowerHigherLowerLowerHigherHigher
 
20132014201520162017201820192020
Bills floor sponsored. A "floor sponsor" is like a secondary sponsor of a bill. After a bill passes the sponsor's chamber, its sponsor needs to find a "floor sponsor" in the other chamber to usher it through the other chamber.
Total floor sponsored 11100321
Chamber average 3.53.53.83.33.63.43.43.1
Difference -2.5-2.5-2.8-3.3-3.6-0.4-1.4-2.1
Comparison LowerLowerLowerLowerLower==LowerLower
 
20132014201520162017201820192020
Missed votes (learn more). Usually missed votes occur because of competing obligations within the legislature, not because the legislator has left the capitol.
Missed votes 2828411641313619
Total votes held 658664699657727734752698
Absentee rate 4.3%4.2%5.9%2.4%5.6%4.2%4.8%2.7%
Chamber average 5.9%6.2%6.3%6.4%5.2%8.0%6.4%7.1%
Difference -1.6-2.0-0.4-4.0+0.4-3.8-1.6-4.4
Comparison ==Lower==Lower======Lower
 
20132014201520162017201820192020
"Nay" votes (learn more). Most floor votes pass by overwhelming majorities, since unpopular bills get weeded out long before they reach the floor. As a result, "nay" votes are rare.
"Nay" votes 4255614946675254
Total votes held 658664699657727734752698
"Nay" rate 6.4%8.3%8.7%7.5%6.3%9.1%6.9%7.7%
Chamber average 7.3%7.5%8.6%7.3%7.1%6.5%6.5%7.0%
Difference -0.9+0.8+0.1+0.2-0.8+2.6+0.4+0.7
Comparison Lower========Higher====
 
20132014201520162017201820192020
Influence or "floor power" (learn more). What percentage of the time is the legislator on the winning side of a floor vote?
Floor power score 67.2%67.5%67.3%71.1%73.0%66.7%71.3%66.7%
Chamber average 66.5%67.1%67.3%66.2%66.8%66.3%68.3%67.0%
Difference +0.7+0.4+0.0+4.9+6.2+0.4+3.0-0.3
Comparison ======HigherHigher======
 
20132014201520162017201820192020
Ideology score 1 (from interest group ratings). Half a dozen interest groups release ratings of each legislator after each legislative session. I rescale them all from 0 (most liberal) to 100 (most conservative) and average them together, resulting in the numbers reported here.
Average rating 48.1nanananananana
Chamber average 56.8nanananananana
Difference -8.7nanananananana
Comparison Lowernanananananana
 
20132014201520162017201820192020
Ideology score 2 (NOMINATE method) (learn more). Using a widely accepted scaling method, I calculate each legislator's ideology score (called a "NOMINATE" score) after each legislative session. I describe the method here. Scores have no intrinsic meaning; they are useful only for comparing two legislators. A legislator with a higher score is more to the right ideologically of a legislator with a lower scale. In most years, a conservative Republican will have a score above 0; a score close to 100 is extreme.
NOMINATE score -7.8-5.34.924.636.315.540.843.8
Chamber average 7.99.519.025.220.79.816.117.4
Difference -15.7-14.8-14.1-0.6+15.6+5.7+24.7+26.4
Comparison ============HigherHigher
 
20132014201520162017201820192020
Party support score (overall) (learn more). How consistently does Rep. Nelson support his/her party? That is, what percentage of the time does the legislator vote with the majority of the other members of his/her party? Scores are usually easily above 90%.
Score (overall) 93.3%93.2%91.5%92.6%94.9%91.7%94.6%92.9%
Chamber average 94.7%94.1%93.8%94.6%94.9%93.8%95.4%94.8%
Difference -1.4-0.9-2.3-2.0-0.0-2.1-0.8-1.9
Comparison Lower==LowerLower======Lower
 
20132014201520162017201820192020
Party support score (party-line only) (learn more). This is the same as the "raw" party support score, but we look only at party-line votes when calculating this. A "party-line" vote occurs when the majority of Democrats votes against the majority of Republicans. Although party-line votes are rare, looking at the legislator's party support score in this setting can be revealing.
Score (party-line only) 62.2%71.2%66.7%75.0%85.9%72.2%77.5%77.8%
Chamber average 81.2%80.1%81.9%85.4%87.1%83.0%84.6%83.5%
Difference -19.0-8.9-15.2-10.4-1.2-10.8-7.1-5.7
Comparison LowerLowerLowerLowerLowerLowerLower==LowerLowerLower

Votes on Rep. Nelson's bills

Many votes have been held on bills sponsored by Rep. Nelson. In the interest of space, I display only the most and least divisive votes held on Rep. Nelson's bills.

Rep. Nelson's most divisive bills

Listed below are the 10 votes on bills sponsored by Rep. Nelson that had the closest vote margin (as a percent of the total votes cast). When there are ties, I list the most recent bills first.

Year Sponsor Bill Ayes Nays Margin
(as % of total votes)
Type of vote
2017 Nelson HJR003S01 12 16 14.3% Senate/ failed
2017 Nelson HJR003S01 45 29 21.6% House/ passed 3rd reading
2016 Nelson HJR005 45 28 23.3% House/ passed 3rd reading
2017 Nelson HB0093 47 25 30.6% House/ passed 3rd reading
2020 Nelson HJR001 58 16 56.8% House/ passed 3rd reading
2020 Nelson HB0017S01 58 16 56.8% House/ passed 3rd reading
2017 Nelson HB0199 57 14 60.6% House/ passed 3rd reading
2020 Nelson HB0017S01 21 5 61.5% Senate/ passed 3rd reading
2017 Nelson HCR006S01 21 5 61.5% Senate/ passed 2nd reading
2017 Nelson HCR006S01 17 4 61.9% Senate/ passed 3rd reading

Rep. Nelson's least divisive bills

Listed below are the 10 votes on bills sponsored by Rep. Nelson that had the widest vote margin (as a percent of the total votes cast). When there are ties, I display the most recent bills first.

Year Sponsor Bill Ayes Nays Margin
(as % of total votes)
Type of vote
2020 Nelson HB0244S01 26 0 100.0% Senate/ passed 2nd & 3rd readings/ suspension
2020 Nelson HB0244S01 24 0 100.0% Senate/ passed 2nd reading
2020 Nelson HB0244S01 73 0 100.0% House/ passed 3rd reading
2020 Nelson HB0017S01 27 0 100.0% Senate/ passed 2nd reading
2019 Nelson HB0272S02 70 0 100.0% House/ concurs with Senate amendment
2019 Nelson HB0272S02 73 0 100.0% House/ passed 3rd reading
2018 Nelson HCR005 28 0 100.0% Senate/ passed 2nd & 3rd readings/ suspension
2018 Nelson HCR005 71 0 100.0% House/ passed 3rd reading
2018 Nelson HB0198S02 23 0 100.0% Senate/ passed 3rd reading
2018 Nelson HB0198S02 24 0 100.0% Senate/ passed 2nd reading