November ballot initiatives

Thursday, September 01, 2016 12:23 PM
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Increase the threshold for amending the state constitution

by Donna Lynne, Lt. Governor & COO, State of Colorado

From the peak of every Colorado fourteener, you can truly appreciate the grandeur of our great state and the limitless possibility it provides. Many of us are fortunate enough to call this place home.

While we embrace our Western independence, we are vulnerable to the political winds both within and outside our borders. No doubt, Colorado has many unique attributes, but one of our distinctions opens the door for outside special interests to inject their agendas into our governance: the ease of amending our state’s constitution.

At first glance, it might seem appealing to have the same requirements for citizen-led initiatives to amend both state law and the constitution. But as we’ve seen, national fads and political topics of the day have found their way to Colorado’s ballot. These issues take advantage of the political winds and aim to amend our state’s founding document, leaving no room for further refinement or removal. While these issues may be popular at the time, remorse can be expensive and painful.

This year, I’m happy to support an effort to make it more difficult to amend the constitution. Amendment 71 will finally increase the threshold for amending the constitution, while leaving the current initiative process the same for changing state law.

The measure before Colorado voters this fall will ensure ideas proposed for Colorado’s constitution have broad, statewide support before they are permanently embedded into our state’s fabric. It requires constitutional amendments to first seek signatures from 2 percent of all registered voters in each of Colorado’s 35 state senate districts to qualify for the ballot. Once on the ballot, these measures will need to secure 55 percent to win at the ballot box. This will encourage greater engagement throughout our state and additional voter buy-in before amending our state’s founding document.

This year, your ballot will be crowded. I hope you’ll consider joining me in voting yes on Amendment 71. Let’s protect our state and make it more difficult to amend our constitution. Let’s raise the bar for Colorado.

Posted in: Colorado Medicine | Initiatives | Advocacy


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