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Hal BidlackHal BidlackMarch 30, 20186min326

We may be in the throes of a constitutional crisis. Not in Washington (well, maybe a little, stay tuned) but here in Colorado. This week, a federal judge blocked parts of the measure, approved by voters in 2016, that made it harder to amend our lovely state’s constitution. Specifically, the Judge ruled that provision that required at least 2% of the signatures gathered to put a proposed new constitutional amendment on the ballot be collected in each of the 35 state senate districts. This was a direct effort to undo the ability of a ballot-measure supporter to gather all needed signatures along the Front Range, where lots of people live, while ignoring those who live in the less well-populated regions of Colorado.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 15, 20186min841
A Denver judge says proponents behind two recent ballot proposals can go forward with their lawsuit to overturn Colorado’s Amendment 71. U.S. District Judge William Martinez denied the state’s motion to dismiss the case. The lawsuit is a long way from decided, however, and plaintiffs don’t expect it to affect this year’s ballot, unless some […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 9, 20174min554
Surrounded by supporters of what would become Amendment 71, a proposal that would make it harder to amend the Colorado constitution dubbed "Raise the Bar," Gov. John Hickenlooper kicks off the petition drive to put the measure on the state ballot on June 1 at the Aurora Municipal Center. (Photo by Joe Megyesy for The Colorado Statesman)
Surrounded by supporters of what would become Amendment 71, a proposal that would make it harder to amend the Colorado constitution dubbed “Raise the Bar,” Gov. John Hickenlooper kicks off the petition drive to put the measure on the state ballot on June 1, 2016, at the Aurora Municipal Center. (Photo by Joe Megyesy for The Colorado Statesman)

The first ballot initiative to test an amendment that makes it harder to change the state constitution will seek to limit housing growth in Colorado, the Secretary of State’s Office said Wednesday.

Initiative 4, as it’s called, would allow county or municipal voters across most of the state to cap housing. In the nine metro Denver counties, the ballot question itself would seek to limit the growth of privately owned residences to 1 percent a year.

Amendment 71, passed by voters in November, requires those who attempt to get something on the ballot to get signatures from 2 percent of the registered voters in each of Colorado’s 35 state Senate districts. Before, they needed to get the equivalent of 5 percent of the registered voters in the secretary of state’s race in the most recent general election.

The backers of the proposed Initiative 4 have until Nov. 30 to submit a total of 98,492 valid signatures to get on the 2018 ballot.

If the measure we to make it on the ballot, it would face furious opposition from well-financed chambers of commerce, builders and others with a stake in Colorado housing, who would cite the need for more housing to help control costs for those already struggling to find an affordable place to live.

The question is being proposed by Daniel Hayes of Golden and Julianne Page of Wheat Ridge. Hayes helped pass growth limits for Golden 22 years ago.

Hayes (and others) are  challenging Amendment 71 in U.S. District Court in Denver.

A press release from the Secretary of State’s Office Wednesday cited a portion of the plaintiffs’ motion:

“Because Amendment 71 forces proponents to collect signatures in these rural districts, it coerces them, on pain of losing a place on the ballot, into speaking to people they do not choose to address in places they do not wish to speak.”

And if petitioners do get on the ballot, they must get 55 percent on Election Day, no longer just a simple majority.


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John TomasicJohn TomasicApril 21, 20173min543

The Colorado ballot initiative that made it more difficult for residents in the state to pass ballot initiatives has drawn a lawsuit. The Coalition for Colorado Universal Health Care and ColoradoCareYes — groups tied to the failed ballot initiative last year that would have established public health care in the state — plan to file the suit Monday. Members say Amendment 71 unconstitutionally hobbles the “direct democracy route” to public policy-making that long has been a central feature of Colorado politics and a weapon to fight ideological gridlock and corporate power.


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John TomasicJohn TomasicApril 14, 20175min528

The “Fix Our Damn Roads” transportation-funding ballot <a href="http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/titleBoard/filings/2017-2018/21Final.pdf" target="_blank">initiative</a> proposed by Jon Caldara, the political bomb thrower who heads the libertarian Independence Institute, is a statutory proposal, not a constitutional proposal. That’s a significant difference. It means the initiative will be easier and cheaper for him to pass than if it were a proposal meant to make a change to the state constitution. Caldara, who has run many initiatives in the past, will still have to gather and submit 98,492 valid resident signatures to the Secretary of State's office by August 7 -- at 3:00 p.m.