Courage Score

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Courage California released its first annual Courage Score in 2016, a tool designed to help Californians learn about how well their elected representatives, in the State Assembly and Senate, represented the districts they serve. Each legislator’s Courage Score is based on their voting record on key progressive bills during the legislative session. The score is standardized for all legislators, every legislator is graded on the same bills and on the same scale. Data collected is used to determine the Courage Score of each legislator, assigning them a number out of 100 — and a corresponding letter grade.

Our annual Courage Score provides Californian’s with a comprehensive and clear account of the willingness of their elected officials to courageously stand up for and vote in the best interests of the people and families they serve — over the interests of corporate lobbyists with deep pockets, who exploit Californians and their communities. Courage Score gives voters the information needed, quickly and easily, to hold elected their officials accountable.


To develop the Courage Score, we reach out to over 100 progressive advocacy organizations throughout California, surveying them on their priority bills from the legislative session. We compile their responses into a comprehensive list of legislation on key issue areas including, but not limited to, health care, housing, criminal justice, immigration, the environment, consumer protections, workers rights, and more. The selection is then narrowed down, prioritizing “close-vote” legislation, which requires courage of the elected officials.

Data is then collected on how each representative voted on these key pieces of legislation, taking into account the legislative process and circumstances specific to individual bills. For example, voting ‘yes’ on a bill after it has been weakened substantially by amendments requires less courage than championing its purest form. To ensure accuracy, we work with allies and Capitol staffers to thoroughly research and track the progress of each bill.

A full list of bills used to determine 2020 Courage Scores can be found here.


Each year, a number of particularly woeful legislators are inducted into that edition’s Hall of Shame. Inclusion in the Hall of Shame is determined by comparing a legislator’s Courage Score to that representative’s “Progressive District Ranking” — a metric used to assess the progressive lean of every legislative district statewide. When an elected official repeatedly votes against the values of their constituents, he or she will likely have both a low Courage Score and find themselves in our Hall of Shame.

All-Stars, on the other hand, are those representatives who consistently vote in-line with their constituents, courageously upholding the values of those who put them in office. All-Stars earn a Courage Scores of 97 or above as testament to their relentless support for common-sense, progressive problem solving.


By engaging in this rigorous, multi-faceted process, Courage Score is a reliable and comprehensive tool for progressive Californians to quickly and easily assess the political courage of each state legislator — and hold them to account. Courage Score helps Californians see which representatives stand up and fight against the corporations and lobbyists seeking to exploit their constituents — and which ones prioritize the needs of corporations and wealthy interests.

Visit to find out who your elected officials are, see their scores and voting history, and discover who to hold accountable and who to celebrate.