An unlikely alliance of some of the state’s leading liberal and conservative voices are sounding the alarm that Colorado’s ballot initiative process is facing an unprecedented assault from established interests and lawmakers.
(LAKE RIDGE, VA) – Citizens in Charge Foundation, a national voter rights group focused on the ballot initiative and referendum process, presented Thad Tecza, a senior instructor emeritus in political science at the University of Colorado, with the May 2011 John Lilburne Award for his efforts during this year’s legislative session to protect Colorado’s initiative process.
According to Jon Caldara, initiative rights in Colorado are now dead. As voters, many of us find state-wide citizen initiatives to be wanting, at least if election results matter. Caldara, of the Independence Institute, was a petition proponent for Amendment 63, the health care initiative that appeared on last November`s ballot. That ballot measure failed. Now Caldara is being sued personally for fraud supposedly committed by petition circulators.
“It doesn`t matter if you love or hate my initiative,” says Caldera. State law killing is your initiative rights.
This legislative session there will be yet another attempt to make it harder for citizens to change the Colorado State Constitution by raising the signature requirements to get something on the ballot. Why bother? The petition process in Colorado is already DEAD.
I mean it. Dead. Only a fool with a financial death-wish would try to get ANY initiative on a statewide ballot.
U.S. District Judge Philip Brimmer on Friday put a temporary hold on part of a controversial 2009 bill restricting, among other things, how and when voters can be asked to sign a petition. You can read the judge’s order here.
Dozens of existing medical marijuana dispensaries could be outlawed in Colorado Springs, and the mayor would have sweeping powers, including the authority to lower taxes, under two separate proposals making their way to the ballot. The effort to ban pot shops involves a man who says his two daughters died because of drug use. The proposal for a mayor with a wide range of powers involves anti-tax activist Douglas Bruce.
Conservative activists asked a federal judge Wednesday to overturn a state law on ballot petitions. U.S. District Judge Phillip Brimmer isn’t likely to rule until Friday at the earliest. Each passing day makes it harder for Jon Caldara to gather signatures for his ballot initiative to overturn the federal health-care reform law in Colorado.
Colorado’s constitution guarantees all stat citizens the power of initiative “as to all local, special, and municipal legislation of every character in of for their respective municipalities.” One restriction on this is that initiatives must be “legislative,” not “administrative.” Any initiative that is deemed “administrative” cannot be certified for the ballot.