Suthers: Colorado Constitution broken

Voters might have to fix the Colorado Constitution, and they might need two elections to do it, Attorney General John Suthers said.

Suthers, the highest-ranking Republican in the state, spoke Friday to about 100 Mesa County Republicans.

During an exclusive interview with the editorial board of The Daily Sentinel beforehand, Suthers also said he is frustrated that the state has not gotten its financial house in order.

The constitution has a variety of financial provisions that sometimes conflict and contradict one another, and it remains a major problem, Suthers said.

“I’m disappointed we’ve made so little progress” in untangling the constitution, he said.

It would be impossible to propose a single ballot measure that could resolve the problems because any such question would violate the state’s rule requiring that measures address a single subject.

Voters might have to approve a measure lifting the single-subject requirement, then, if it passes, take on a comprehensive constitutional fix in the next election, Suthers said.

Officials looking for ways to increase state revenue have turned more and more to fees, Suthers said.

“They’re just feeing us to death,” he said.

Speaking later to Republicans, Suthers said that as the only Republican in state office with a Democrat-dominated Legislature, “I’m lonely, and I don’t like it.”

He is fighting to preserve the death penalty in Colorado, Suthers said, referring to legislative efforts to ban it. The death penalty is needed, he said, to deal with certain heinous instances, such as murders by prison inmates or killings of witnesses to avoid a murder conviction.

“I don’t think we should have a system that gives free murders,” Suther said.

The failures of the GOP in recent elections have been over performance, not Republican principles, he said.

Republicans need to approach the next election with “missionary zeal” to recapture at least one house of the Legislature and governorship, he said.


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