Ballot mania is on in Colorado
Every two years, Colorado endures paroxysms of ballot-initiative fever, even though many of the proposed initiatives have little chance of passing. Still, they add to the length of the ballot, require voters to spend time trying to understand what the measures are about and often force opposing groups to spend large amounts of money to block them.
It looks like 2014 will be no exception. That’s why we continue to believe Colorado should change its rules to make it more difficult to place citizens’ initiatives on the ballot.
Here are a few proposals that could appear this November.
✔ A proposal to require mandatory marriage counseling for all couples who plan to tie the knot. The requirement would begin with 10 hours of pre-marriage counseling, but would increase for people entering into a second or third marriage. It would make no allowance for widows and widowers who are planning a second marriage.
We have nothing against people being prepared for marriage, and pre-wedding counseling can be helpful in that regard. But making it a state requirement, with all the associated costs and red tape, is exactly the sort of nanny-state intrusion into personal lives that infuriates so many Coloradans.
✔ The Colorado No-kill Animal Act would prohibit animal shelters from euthanizing dogs and cats unless a licensed veterinarian certifies the animal is suffering. Shelters would not even be allowed to kill animals that are deemed dangerous.
Colorado is filled with animal lovers, and most of us don’t want to see dogs, cats or other critters euthanized unnecessarily. But, the unfortunate reality is that some animals are abandoned, some are dangerous and there is not a loving owner waiting to adopt every animal. This proposal would result in shelters being overwhelmed with animals and taxpayers being on the hook to feed and house animals indefinitely.
✔ The Community Rights Amendment would give cities and counties in Colorado the right to prohibit any private business they dislike from operating within their boundaries. Supporters say that could apply to everything from oil and gas companies to big-box stores. However, since the group backing the measure is one that helped lead the charge last fall to get several Front Range communities to ban fracking, it’s clear this is primarily about oil and gas. Even so, passage of the measure would make it immensely more difficult for businesses in any industry to operate in Colorado and could put the brakes on the state’s economic recovery. It would also overturn existing state control of oil and gas drilling.
✔ The personhood amendment, already on the ballot, would declare that a fetus in the womb has the same rights and protections as any living person. This perennial favorite is a back-door attempt to ban abortion, but it could also turn doctors and mothers into accidental criminals. Here’s hoping it meets the same fate as the previous two personhood amendments, which were solidly defeated by Coloradans.