Our View: Vote 'no' on state amendments

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Editorial Board, August through December 2010

  • Scott Stanford, general manager
  • Brent Boyer, editor
  • Blythe Terrell, city editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • Rich Lowe, community representative
  • Sue Birch, community representative

Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@steamboatpilot.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

— After careful consideration of the nine statewide ballot questions being put before voters this fall, we once again have reached the conclusion that proposed amendments to Colorado’s constitution too often are being used to effect changes in public policy that are better left to the legislative branch and the courts.

A prime example is proposed Amendment 62, the so-called personhood amendment and the latest attempt to define a person and put an end to abortion. The vague wording of the amendment and its far-reaching intent underscore the problem with the ease of putting agenda-driven, highly politicized issues before voters in the form of a constitutional amendment.

Constitutional amendments are virtually irreversible, and Coloradans have seen how, throughout time, new amendments can lead to unintended consequences that can create untenable conflicts within the state budget.

There’s even a lack of transparency in who has sponsored proposed amendments.

For an example, one need look no further than the ongoing fight with Douglas Bruce to determine his role in Amendments 60, 61 and 101.

Colorado voters were confronted with 14 measures in 2008, and the Associated Press reported this fall that a university panel concluded that only California and Oregon typically put more ballot proposals before their voters than does Colorado.

Former state Sen. Abel Tapia, of Pueblo, previously attempted to raise the threshold for the number of signatures needed to put an amendment on the ballot.

He also sought to ensure that the petitions reflect registered voters from around the state. The voters rejected that amendment in 2008.

Tapia’s amendment was one we would have looked favorably on.

Some of this fall’s ballot measures are more innocent, such as Amendment P and its attempt to transfer oversight of licenses bingo and raffle games to the Department of Revenue, and Amendment Q, which would establish a process for temporarily moving the seat of state government from Denver in the event of a disaster.

But we hardly see the need for them. Why spend $116,000 to transfer gaming oversight to a different department when the current system seems to have worked just fine?

What we should be voting on is a measure that makes it more difficult to amend the state’s constitution.

Constitutional amendments should be absolutely necessary. Instead, they appear to have become the first recourse rather than the last one.

Let’s not cheapen the currency of Colorado’s constitution.

Unable to find a compelling case for any of this year’s statewide amendments and statutory measures, we urge you to reject all of them.

However, we maintain our support of two local initiatives, Referendums 3A and 3B, which would raise property taxes in Hayden and South Routt to provide additional short-term revenues for the public school districts there.

Comments

Aaron Murphy 3 years, 5 months ago

Vote "NO" on the big three- 60, 61, and 101! If these pass, we're ensuring major cutbacks in services over the next several years. We're talking police services, fire services, EMS services, teachers, transportation services, just to name a few. The benefit is NOT worth the cost. VOTE NO!

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