Political Round-Up Report: Colorado’s State Measures
Continuing with Leadville Today’s (LT) weekly political round-up report, this week covers the nine measures that appear on every Coloradan’s ballot.
Only 35 of the 50 United States will be voting on changes to their state’s legislation on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Colorado has one of the thickest tickets with nine qualified measures of the more than 39 that were originally proposed. Two are posed by the state legislature, known as a Legislative referral, and seven are citizen-initiated. At least 98,492 valid signatures are required for a citizen-initiated measure to appear on the ticket, but even that is subject to change after this November’s election.
While often considered the more cumbersome portion of the ballot for many voters, this year’s initiatives could be any statesman’s most exciting part of the ballot. State measures are often progressive or unprecedented, and offer a chance to break the mold, and make a big change quickly relative to the federal legislative process.
LT will provide the language straight from the ballot, along with a summary and links to credited sources of ‘pro’ and ‘con’ camps for each measure. Here they are, the Nine Colorado State Measures:
Criminal Slavery: Amendment T (Legislative Referral)
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning the removal of the exception to the prohibition of slavery and involuntary servitude when used as punishment for persons duly convicted of a crime?
Summary: As it stands, “slavery and involuntary servitude” are legal and viable punishments for persons duly convicted of a crime. Amendment T would change that.
PRO: From The Denver Post, “Yes on Amendment T: Remove slavery from the Colorado Constitution”
CON: Also from The Denver Post, “As Drafted, Colorado’s Amendment T has a Fatal Flaw”
Property Tax Exemption: Amendment U (Legislative Referral)
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning an exemption from property taxation for a possessory interest in real property if the actual value of the interest is less than or equal to six thousand dollars or such amount adjusted to inflation?
Summary: Concerning government owned property which produces a private benefit: While “real property” whose value is less than $6,000 in Colorado now equates to about 2 square feet, this would exemplify the users of such small assets from paying its property tax. Read this brief article from Boulder’s DailyCamera, for views of both supporters and opposers: “Colorado Amendment U: Exemption from Property Taxation.”
ColoradoCare: Amendment 69 (Citizen-initiated constitutional amendment)
Shall state taxes be increased $25 Billion annually in the first fiscal year, and by such amounts that are raised thereafter by an amendment to the Colorado constitution establishing a health care payment system to fund health care for all individuals whose primary residence is in Colorado, and, in connection therewith, creating a governmental entity called ColoradoCare…(for full text click here).
Summary: Universal, single-payer health care system for Colorado, modeled after such that is established in Canada and France. Aye or nay?
CON: From Westword, Denver: “Why You Should Vote No on Amendment 69: the ColoradoCare Health Plan.”
Minimum Wage Increase: Amendment 70 (Citizen-initiated)
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution increasing the minimum wage to $9.30 per hour with annual increases of $0.90 each January 1 until it reaches $12 per hour effective January 2020, and annually adjusting it thereafter for cost-of-living increases.
Summary: A fluid minimum-wage increase with no ceiling and no expiration date.
PRO: From the Denver Post, “Yes on Amendment 70: It’s a Modest Increase in the Minimum Wage”
CON: An interview from Westword with campaign manager of Keep Colorado Working, “Why You Should Vote No on Amendment 70 Against Raising the Minimum Wage”
Amending the Constitution: Amendment 71 (Citizen-Initiated)
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution making it more difficult to amend the Colorado constitution by requiring that any petition for a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment be signed by at least two percent of the registered electors who reside in each state senate district for the amendment to be placed on the ballot and increading the percentage of votes needed to pass any proposed constitutional amendment from a majority to at least fifty-five percent of the votes cast, unless the proposed constitutional amendment only repeals, in whole or part, any provision of the constitution.
Summary: In (much) fewer words, every district in the state must display interest in a proposed constitutional amendment for it to appear on the ballot, and 55%, instead of a simple majority, would be required to pass it, unless the vote was to repeal a provision.
PRO: From the initiative’s official site, RaisetheBarco.com
CON: From The Humane Society of the United States, “The Humane Society of the United States Urges ‘No’ Vote on Colorado Amendment 71”
Tobacco Tax: Amendment 72 (C-I)
Shall state taxes be increased $315.7 Million annually by an amendment to the Colorado constitution increasing tobacco taxes , and, in connection therewith, beginning January 1, 2017, increasing taxes on cigarettes by 8.75 cents per cigarette ($1.75 per pack of 20) and on other tobacco products by 22 percent of the manufacturers list price… (for full text click here)
Summary: A tax increase on tobacco sales by $1.75 per pack. This money would be allocated to various government health-related programs (at least seven different programs implied on the ballot.)
PRO: From The Rocky Mountain Collegian: “Coloradans Should Vote Yes on Amendment 72”
CON: From The Complete Colorado – Page Two: “Amendment 71: Colorado Voters Should Reject Massive Tobacco Tax Increase”
Assisted Death: Proposition 106 (CI)
Shall there be a change to the Colorado revised statutes to permit any mentally capable adult Colorado resident who has a medical prognosis of death by terminal illness within six months to receive a prescription from a willing licensed physician for medication that can be self-administered to bring about death… (click here for full text)
Summary: A death-pill for the terminally ill, legally administered, with immunity of liability for anyone who helps or is present at the time of death. A well thought-out ballot measure with a firm and direct command of English.
PRO: From The Denver Post, “Yes on Proposition 106: Give Coloradans Choice at the End of Life”
Primary Election: Proposition 107
Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statues recreating a presidential primary election to be held before the end of March in each presidential election year in which unaffiliated electors may vote without declaring an affiliation with a political party?
Summary: A change from the political process that currently exists in Colorado, to a something like that which exists in states such as Texas, Ohio, and North Dakota.
PRO: From DailyCamera: “Editorial: Yes on Propositions 107 & 108”
CON: From The Pueblo Chieftain: “Propositions 107, 108: Fiddling with Primaries”
Unaffiliated Voters: Proposition 108 (CI)
Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statues concerning the process of selecting candidates representing political parties on a general election ballot, and, in connection therewith, allowing an unaffiliated elector to vote in the primary election of a political party without declaring an affiliation with that party and permitting a political party in specific circumstances to select all of its candidates by assembly or convention instead of by primary election?
Summary: It wouldn’t be a real ballot without at least one set of married propositions. This one is coupled with the proposition above: further changes to the political process, particularly concerning unaffiliated voters. Refer to the links above.
There they are, all in a row. Be sure to pay attention to the finer print of these measures in the booth, or while filling the ballot out at home, as “the devil is in the details”. Colorado could see some big changes in 2017. Sources: ballotpedia.org, www.dailycamera.com, www.westword.com, www.denverpost.com, www.sos.state.co.us
In the meantime, stay informed, stay involved, and stay tuned as the clock ticks closer to Election Day: Tuesday, Nov. 8.
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