proposal loses 
Scott’s support

DENVER — Rep. Ray Scott and five other Republicans took their names off a bill Thursday that would call for a ballot question to make it harder to change the Colorado Constitution.

The Grand Junction Republican said he reconsidered his stance on the measure, saying it would have been unfairly onerous for citizens who want to go to the ballot.

“I just kind of thought it would have infringed on what we have been doing,” Scott said. “Also, there was no limit on us (in the Legislature), so how could we put a limit on the people?”

Regardless of those defections on House Concurrence Resolution 2, the measure passed 47-18, getting four more votes than the needed two-thirds of the House to be approved.

Despite Scott’s change of heart, the measure still had support from several other local lawmakers, including Reps. Jared Wright, R-Fruita; Bob Rankin, R-Glenwood Springs; Don Coram, R-Montrose; and Millie Hamner, a Dillon Democrat whose district includes Delta County.

The proposal, which now heads to the Senate for more debate, would require that a portion of signatures to get onto the ballot to alter the Constitution would have to come from each of the state’s seven congressional districts.

Additionally, the proposal also would double the number of signatures required to make the ballot. Currently, it’s more than 86,000.


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But of course.  Scott doesn’t want to make it any harder for the Koch brothers to own the state.

Hey Ralph,
When have you ever seen a ballot initiative by the Koch brothers?

In fact, if you don’t like what the Koch brothers are doing, then petition the ballot to change it. Uh, while you still can, before the state senate (like the state house) infringes on your RIGHT to petition the ballot to either reign government in or allow more freedom for citizens.

Your RIGHT to petition the ballot is being squashed here—and you seem to think that’s a good thing. Maybe you need to watch this video to see why petition rights are important.

Hey Ralph, me again—am posting this Denver Post opinion piece because it mentions your beloved Koch brothers. Maybe you will understand that you are exactly opposite the position you think you are on this issue…

The people’s right to check government
By Elena Nunez and Jon Caldara
Guest Commentary

Re:“Make it harder to amend Colorado’s constitution,” April 22 editorial.
It’s fair to say we rarely agree. In fact, we often find ourselves locked in mortal political combat. Our battles include fighting over voting laws, tax and spending limits, and campaign finance laws, to name just a few.
The one battle where we stand shoulder-to-shoulder is to defend the people’s right to balance government’s overreach through the citizen’s initiative process.
Despite reaching the wrong conclusion, The Denver Post’s recent editorial in favor of House Concurrent Resolution 1002, which puts the initiative process out of reach to all but the wealthiest few Koch brothers and George Soros types, makes many of our arguments — HCR 1002 is an overreach by the legislature. The Post also acknowledged the myth that it is easy to amend the constitution is just that — a myth. Anyone who thinks it is easy has clearly never tried. Both of us have, and have the scars to prove it.
Though democratic processes are never flawless, after 100 years of experience here in Colorado, from reforming campaign finance rules to imposing term limits, there are good reasons the public favors petition power by a three-to-one margin.
The initiative process is an important safety valve, allowing voters to propose reforms where the legislature lacks political will to act or has a conflict of interest. Historically, many citizen initiatives were advanced because the legislature failed to take action, or voted against the interest of their constituents.
The problem with Colorado’s current process is not that it is too easy to amend the Constitution, but rather that there is no incentive to go the statutory route. The reason that some initiatives are run as constitutional amendments rather than statutory propositions is that the legislature has a bad track record when it comes to respecting the will of the voters.
If the General Assembly was serious about “protecting” the constitution from the voters, they would keep their hands off the measures passed by the people.
The General Assembly should work to reduce the number of signatures required to propose statutory, not constitutional, amendments, make it easier for citizens to sign petitions, and guarantee that measures passed by voters couldn’t be changed by the legislature for some period of time without a super majority vote or requiring another vote of the people.
HCR 1002 is an attack on citizen participation. The General Assembly should reject it.
Elena Nunez is executive director of Colorado Common Cause. Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute

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