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January 09, 2007 12:40 AM UTC

Legislature Won't Alter Amendment 41

  • by: Colorado Pols

As the Rocky Mountain News reports in an editorial, it doesn’t look as though Amendment 41 will get any clarification from the legislature:

It was music to our ears Friday when state Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald and House Speaker Andrew Romanoff told us in a meeting at the News that the legislature has a duty to implement Amendment 41 as it was written.

An unremarkable assertion, you might think – but in fact it is not. The authors of Amendment 41 have consistently claimed that the measure need not mean what it clearly says (see the Speakout column in this section for a sophisticated version of this argument). They say the legislature can write an enabling law protecting the ability of government workers, their spouses and dependents from the immense problems created by banning their accepting any “gift or thing of value” worth more than $50 a year.

But such a ban is unfortunately what Amendment 41 imposes. Fitz-Gerald was particularly eloquent on the responsibility of voters to know what they’re supporting before they go to the polls. Now that Coloradans have passed this monstrosity, it’s up to the state to somehow live with it.

After all, as Fitz-Gerald also pointed out, the amendment itself says that although “Legislation may be enacted to facilitate the operation of this article. . . in no way shall such legislation limit or restrict the provisions of this article.”…

…We take no glee in seeing state and local government workers between a rock and a hard place on 41. University of Colorado President Hank Brown laid out for us recently the troublesome implications of 41 for his institution, and they involve everything from scholarships and Nobel prizes in jeopardy to grants to professors for research on pharmaceuticals. Serious stuff.

This could really be bad news for Jared Polis if 41 proves to prohibit students from accepting college scholarships because their parent(s) are state employees.

What do you think? Should the legislature clarify Amendment 41 or leave it the way it is?

Should the Legislature Clarify Amendment 41?

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78 thoughts on “Legislature Won’t Alter Amendment 41

  1. The legislature should not attempt to “clarify” Amendment 41.  I’m certain Romanoff and Fitz-G. want the full pain and suffering to be inflicted on all civil servants everywhere in the state so that as anticipated there will be plenty of reasons to change (maybe even revoke?) the Amendment in the future (hopefully soon). 

    This same rationale applied for a number of critics of Ref. C & D who thought the ballot measures just tinkered with TABOR and that TABOR should be resigned to the dustbin of history instead.

    It is the same tactic of those who wish to build no more prisons, so that the prison population increases and the problem mounts to such an extent that the legislature is forced to finally do something.

    We’ll see if Romanoff and Fitz-G.’s tactic works.

  2. Clarify the language because that is the intent of the Amendment and that is what responsible government should do.

    Now, with my idealist hat off, let me say, of course they don’t want to clarify A-41.  Sen. Fitz-Gerald ensures her top spot in CD-2 by helping Jared suffer for this.  Her arguments also resonate with me – voters were warned prior to the election, so now we live with our choice. 

    I have heard too many government officials, from mayors to legislators, say, “If my little [insert name here] gets that scholarship, I’ll resign faster than Jared Polis can say unintended consequences”.

    The idea of A-41 is good; there should be transparency and ethics in government.  Government officials should not have to endure “pain and suffering” now in order to revise or revoke the Amendment later.  Do it now (and still blame Polis for it).

  3. People really ought to read into what they are voting for instead of paying attention to slick campaign advertising. Bed. Made. Lie.

    If the voters want this to change they will have to go to the polls again.

  4. Unless it’s altered by the legislature, Tom Plant can’t serve as director of the OEMC without violating the “cooling off” period for General Assembly members.

    1. It would seem Plant is only in trouble if lobbying, or the act of personally representing something before elected officials is a part of his job description.  It would seem that you could be the Director of an Agency and hire someone else to lobby, therefore avoiding report to the Amendment 41 Commission (which, ironically, is EXEMPT from the very ethics provisions it is created to enforce.  I wonder who contemplated getting apointed to that commission.  Go figure!).

      1. So the Ritter Administration will have an agency head that is forbidden to discuss agency issues with the Governor, the Attorney General, and the General Assembly.  How is that good government?

  5. The Legislature has no choice but to follow the Law.
    That is not a tactic that is what is required. Clearly Pete Maysmith and Jared Polis wanted to prohibit gifts to children. They saw gifts to children  as a way of getting around the ban on gifts to public officials. Could they have done a better job of drafting? Yes. But, courts are not made up of mind readers and it is improper to change the clear intent of the Law and hope that no one comes around to challenge it later.

    1. Obviously, you have not been involved in this process and are not a lawyer.  Let me tell you any law always has these problems and “unintended consequences.”  That is why it is such a terrible idea to put crap like this in the Constitution.  But, of course, we all tried to tell the do-gooders this last year, to no avail.  Even the League of Women Voters (normally a do-gooder organization) washed its hands on this.  Oh well, those guys can live with their consequences now.  They got what they wanted, now they’re going to get a raft of shit for putting this out there and they deserve it.  Does anyone have tar and feathers.  Let’s run these guys out of town once and for all.

    2. Colorado courts have ruled:

      – interpretation of an initiated amendment must avoid absurd results indicated by a literal reading of the language where voters could not have intended that result.

      – an initiated constitutional amendment should not be given a narrow or technical reading of language if to do so would defeat the intent of the people.

      – The General Assembly is authorized to resolve ambiguities in constitutional amendments in a manner that reflects the provisions and underlying purposes of the amendment…

      h/t to Mark Grueskin

      1. how anyone can misread the plain language of the amendment prohibiting limitations on its provisions, as reported and quoted in the main story body.

        The Legislature might be able to do something, but it cannot do enough to fix this broken pig of a Referendum. I have *never* agreed with those who said “pass it; the Legislature can always fix it”.  And that’s just the argument I heard from proponents of 41 before the election.  It says what it says.  It’s stupid, but I for one was never able to pull out of my a** any interpretation other than the one that caused me to vote ‘No’, and that Progressives and Conservatives both who voted for this bill didn’t do their own due diligence in reading it thoroughly.

        You don’t pass Constitutional amendments that have crappy language.

        1. Personally I think the absurd results case could be used to clarify the intent.  I agree with how you describe our dilemma but feel strongly that the legislature should do something to mitigate the effects.

          I&R reform is essential in CO if this is to be avoided in the future.

      2. This legal clarification is helpful. If the legislature acts to write laws to implement 41, then anyone with standing can take the issue to the state courts for resolution or clarifiction.  Some thoughts:  Minor children don’t get scholarships to college, kids hit eighteen around freshman year.  Scholarships are not gifts; they are awarded on merit or some objective criteria.  The notion that research grants and awards for merit are somehow “gifts” is interesting.

        I think the legislature should act. I am not up for punishing voters.

        1. My kid wants to go to Catholic high school, which he can only do if he gets a scholarship.  If he gets a scholarship, I will leave my state job.  I love my job, but I will be eligible to take retirement when he starts high school and I wouldn’t want to stay if it would jeopardize his education.  I’ll make a lot more money going into the private sector anyway.

          By the way, to all of y’all who post that the intent of the voters should prevail: How do you figure out what the voters intended?  All you can do is look at the language that they voted for, and that language clearly prohibits my minor son from accepting a “gift,” which is defined as anything with a value over $50.  So the voters of Colorado intended to prevent my son from receiving a scholarship as long as I am a state employee.  Fortunately I can fix that.

      3. Campaign Finance Amendment, passed by voters in 2002.

        The Legislature clarified language to make sure that unintended consequences were not implemented.

        For example:

        campaign volunteers are exempt from liability (wasn’t clear in the language prior to the legislature passing 1-45-112.5 (1) CRS)

        corporations and labor unions may still contribute to political committees (again, clarified and did not change intent of the amendment)

        terms used in the article are defined – “candidate committee account”, “contribution”, “corporation”…

        For Romanoff and Fitz-Gerald to allow A-41 to become law without clarifying, at a minimum, “other legal entity” (see M.Gauntlet’s post below), “frivolous”, “accept or receive”, “special occasion”, than they are, IMO, shirking their duties as leaders.

    3. There wasn’t a lot of room for ambiguity in the Amendment; I voted ‘No’ even though I am a strong advocate for ethics reform.  We’re screwed and stuck with it for at least the year.  Hopefully we can get an amendment to the amendment soon.

      In the meantime, let me say that if this state had an I&R option for creating laws requiring super-majorities for override, the Legislature might have had a means of fixing this mess.  Time for I&R reform – the right way, not the Amdt. 38 way…

  6. This seems like a no-brainer. I can’t imagine that the legislature would make the children of public employees suffer just to prove a point that they don’t like a lobbyist gift ban.

    Like nearly everything the voters pass, of course some common sense legislation to implement it should be passed. The public made clear what it wants in passing Amend 41, and the legislature should honor that by by implementing it properly.

    1. You and I have gone round on this topic before, and I’ve certainly railed enough to be called a single-issue poster, which is actually not the case.  However, it is not a matter of the Legislature acting “to prove a point”.  The Amendment actually, and specifically states that the child of a public employee is affirmatively subject to the gift ban provision.  There is nothing unclear about that language, and no court will call it ambiguous, or even necessarily absurd.  Now, the Legislature CAN (and should) clarify the Amendment, but in so doing they cannot undo its clear meaning.  They can, for example, define what the ridiculous term “other legal entity” means.  However, they cannot somehow change “to such person’s spouse or dependent child” to mean anything other than application to public employees’ spouses and children.  They also can’t change it to read that it only meant gifts from lobbyists, when it clearly states it applies to gifts from “any person”, and even goes on to define that term to include much more than lobbyists including any “other legal entity” which just about catches everybody.  I actually believe the RMN article asserts that the Legislature plans to implement the Amendment “properly” by assuming the people who voted for it actually read its provisions and chose to adopt that language into our Constitution.  The bigger question is how people can continue to defend the Amendment as a “good” thing, based on the grounds that it is somehow open to further tinkering.  It says what it says, and it says it in the Constitution.  Period.  No-brainer.

      1. The Boulder Daily Camera came out with an editorial saying that they may have made a mistake endorsing 41.

        You think???

        I think a lot of the supporters engaged in wishful thinking because and “campaign reform” is by definition good.

        Let those who supported it no issue mea cupla’s. I was also against it all along.

  7. Polis and Maysmith wanted to ban gifts to children.
    They chose to do so because they saw gifts to children as a way around the ban on gifts to public officials.
    They could have exempted scholarships but chose not to do so. They had the benefit of one of the finest election lawyers in the State and chose not to do these things
    They could have done a lot of things but chose not to do so.
    How can you now say that the Legislature should become mind readers and put down what Polis and Maysmith really say they actually meant. So public employees now must forfeit scholarships there children might win. That is the price of public service.
    Instead of trying to get the Legislature to bail them out get the checkbook out and pass something else. You cannot ignore the law on a whim and that is what Polis and Maysmith now want the Legislature to do. What if they change their minds again? Will the Legislature have to pass something else?

  8. See all these arguments about what would happen if this passed were made.
    The voters heard those arguments and still voted yes.
    This idea that the Legislature can alter the clear intent of the voters is a dangerous one. Polis decided the way to get ahead was to follow the lead of his cousin Bruce on the right in Colorado Springs and get into the initiative game. Polis got one of the best lawyers in the Legislature Morgan Carroll to support him and hired some of the best election lawyers in the State to draft #41.
    How can they now come in with their crocodile tears and say they meant somthing different than what they wrote?

    1. Rep. Carroll was very upfront when asked in saying that the Legislature was going to be able to clarify this Amendment.  I didn’t believe her then, and despite my overall admiration for her goals, I continued to believe that a ‘No’ vote was best.

      I don’t really want to tell these people “I Told You So”, but, well, I (and a number of others) did speak up back when.  And now we’re stuck with AG Suthers and both the House and Senate Speakers standing up for the wording of the Amendment as written, crappy language and all.

  9. (That sounds sassier than “Middle School”)  Whatever can legally be done by the legislature to clarify language and intent of 41 should be done.  Making people suffer because of someone’s (Polis and Maysmith) bad judgement is so 13ish.

    1. It’s the law.  If this could be fixed legally, I would agree.  But the plain language of the Amendment prohibits anything that would limit its effects, and is pretty clear as to its scope.  There’s not much you can do to avoid that.

      It was a bad Referendum.  It should never have made it to the Colorado Constitution, but it did.  Under the rationale proposed by some “change it” folks here, we should have ditched the most limiting parts of TABOR years ago for their absurdity.  We didn’t – we passed more Referenda.

      Any attempt by the Legislature and soon-to-be Gov. Ritter is bound to run up against AG Suthers, who has already made his intentions clear on the issue.  This will lead to lawsuits and delay that will preclude anyone potentially covered under the Amendment from actually serving, unless they can get clearance from the AG’s office first.

      1. TABOR was implemented and it took some years before the negative impacts were felt.  You’re right, but it is a different situation, IMO.  A-41 has vague definitions and the unintended consequences are evident today, before the implementing legislation. 

        It is the Legislature’s duty to make sure that we have the correct laws on the book.  Don’t change the intent of the law, clarify gift limits apply to influencing a decision, or authorize activities that do not fall under the scope of A-41 (i.e. Nobel prizes…).

        1. I didn’t even think about the implications for CU professors with Nobel prizes.  Erk.

          Still, we have rules about school employees lobbying their boards, just as we now have Amdt. 41 which is broader in impact.  I still fail to see how the Legislature is going to be able to pass legislation that will withstand Constitutional muster against the plain wording of the bill and AG Suthers’ opposition.  Best to get a fix Referendum or Initiative out there ASAP and do it The Right Way™.  It’ll take a year to sort it out between the AG and the Amendment’s proponents and inadvertent targets anyway.

      1. I voted against Amendment 41, as did my husband (I think; he is a contrarian so he may have voted for it in spite of my ranting).  See my earlier post; my kid won’t be able to accept a scholarship to Catholic high school because other voters voted for this stupid thing.

  10. I used the original quote even though it is a bit sexist.

    The law is the law. Some laws are stupid, some are bad, some are even immoral (Dred Scott). But to ignore or work around or agree to not enfocre some parts degrades the entire concept of basing our society on laws and not the whims of those in charge.

    So we live with this bad law for 2 years until it can be revoked. And some state workers suffer from the consequences of the voters approving something that was very poorly crafted.

    And that is the price we pay for having this imperfect system called a democracy. Because as Winston Churchill said, democracy is the worst form of government – except all others.

    As to who voted how for what reason – can you really see inside their mind? I give them credit for doing the right thing, no matter what the true reason is.

    – dave

    1. In our state, with its easily modified constitution, the government truly is by the people. It has also been said that people get the government they deserve. It’s time the people started paying attention if they are going to write the constitution.

    2. The other:

      “Democracy is the only form of government wherein the people receive the government they deserve”

      Samuel Clemens

      1. I’ve become partial to H.L. Mencken:

        “As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

        But there’s also:

        “Democracy is the theory that holds that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” (obviously paraphrased from Clemens…)

        “Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage.”

        …and many others; a thoroughly cynical man, Mr. Mencken was.

      1. We limit the ballot to 3 amendments and 3 initiatives each election. If we get more we randomly pick which ones go on.

        Definitely would make people think twice.

        Or maybe it passes once, the enabling legislation is passed, and then in the next election both have to be approved before it takes effect? Like a first and second reading.

      2. I have said it before and I will say it again, the only way out of the mess that is the Colorado Constitution (41 is just the latest iteration of BS that is in the Constitution and creating myriad problems for Coloradans) is to do a Constitutional Convention and deal with everything at once.

        I know that a Convention scares the BEEJESUS out of folks, but I don’t know any other way to reconcile the conflicting elements of the Constitution and the major amount of BS that is in there now (constitutional prohibition against the use of leg traps to trap bears – that really belongs in the Constitution).

        Do a Convention and as part of that require that a super majority be required to amend the Constitution after all the provisions have been cleaned up. 

        For initiated statutes, you could require that the initiative passes with a simple majority, but for the legislature to alter an initiatied statute would require a super majority of the legislature (60%?)

        Right now our hands are tied with regard to cleaning up the constitution. 

        1. I agree that the Colorado Constitution is a mess and there is something for everyone to dislike in it.  But, will a CC be non-partisan?  I fear not.  I didn’t hear calls for a CC when the Republicans held both houses of the legislature and the Governorship.

          1. That you were a libertarian? Have you seen the constitution? I once heard a state senator, in reference to colorado voters, say “when in doubt; make it an amendment.” It is chock full of outdated rules, and we continue to pile on more and more crap. I need to review the rules of constitutional conventions, but why would it not be partisan? Because the dems are in control of the leg and the gov? If that is the reason, and again I need to review to rules, why didnt you and your friends try to jumpstart the cause?

            1. I’m a registered Republican that agrees with Thomas Jefferson, founder of the Democratic Party: “The government that governs best, governs least”.  That puts me in the libertarian wing of the Republican Party.  I would hope the Libertarian Party doesn’t trust the Dems any more than I do.

              1. Then made the Louisiana Purchase? Personally I’m glad he made it but that was probably the largest over-reaching of a President ever.

                Not a great example for libertarians if you look at his actions (also a slave owner) rather than his words.

          2. would be elected by the voters.

            To have a convention would require a 2/3rds vote of the General Assembly.

            If that occurs then the voters of Colorado would vote on the delegates.  Two delegates from each senate district would be elected out of those senate districts.  The convention would then consist of 70 members.  Any changes they propose would then be submitted en masse to the electorate as a whole for adoption or rejection.

            1. It’s better than New York’s rules, anyway.

              Sounds like it would be mostly fair, though I think some ground rules (aka legislation) would need to be put into effect to cover these delegates under the regular campaign regulations.

  11. in the State Constitution.

    I voted against 41 and will vote for its COMPLETE repeal.

    We don’t need “reform”.

    1. Term limits are proving to be a stupid idea. Just talk to people in sparsely populated counties.

    2. We need the best government that money can buy. Honest money. Up and out front.


      1. But I voted for it because:

        1) The choice was that way or nothing. If the legislature had done it’s job and passed a law there would have been an alternative.

        2) The Colorado constitution is what – 90 pages long? It’s not a set of general guidelines, it’s a ton of very specific stuff. So based on what we have for a constitution, minimum wage arguably does belong in there.

        – dave

  12. You submit issues to the voters because the Legislature refuses to take action on an issue that has popular support.
    Now these yucks want the Legislature to take action when not two months ago they said the Legislature was refusing to take action — it is all kind of funny.

  13. There are plenty of good lawyers in the state, and I think someone should file a class action suit against the amendment’s enactment on behalf of all children and spouses of all the employees and contractors.

    Surely, someone can draw up reasonable arguments against preempting and prohibiting otherwise legal acts.  This absurd law prohibits even Gramma from giving Junior an IPOD for his birthday, because that would exceed $50.  That is bull crap.

    This measure prevents some Secretary’s daughter from accepting a scholarship.  It prevents the children of contract janitors from realizing entry into college.  (Wait…maybe that is just the elitist plan…no upward mobility.)

    Where are those constitutional scholars that can argue the very unconstitutional nature of this amendment?  They prevailed against Amendment 2, years ago.  Some constitutional amendments are unconstitutional.

  14. Did it ever dawn on any of you that Amendment 41 might – just might – do exactly what the electorate wants?

    As one who voted for 41, I looked at the amendment very carefully.  I read all the newspaper articles about the consequences.  I read all the blogs and web opinions (League of Women Voters and others)I could find.  Nothing coming out today is any surprise to me.

    Money in goverment is one of the prime evils I see.  I have waited for Democrats and Republicans to do something about it.  Nothing happened.  Amendment 41 was the first effort to draw bright lines to keep money out of the process and give me a chance for clean government. 

    I accepted that there were consequences and decided that the cost was worth the benefit.  I suggest that the 60%, who voted like I did, were of the same mind.  But, then again we are not professional pols or public employees.

    1. I’m an R but I don’t harbor the same vehement distrust of our politicians and our government.

      If we really want to clean things up and get money out of govt once and for all how about lowering leg salaries to zero, eliminating campaign contributions, reducing term limits to one term, and preventing anyone who has campaigned from holding office.

      I’ve always thought that term limits limited the freedom of the people more than the options of the politicians. Now we can’t elect the candidates we want.

      Can’t we stop hobbling democracy and start voting the scoundrels out of the system? That was the way it was supposed to be.

      1. You want to make sure only rich or retired people can be legislators, ensure that no-one actually has any experience to *run* a legislature, and make sure that no-one actually knows who they’re voting for unless they’ve heard the name in the news?


        1. I was kidding, making light of jadodd’s post that he supported Amend 41 because he wanted money out of politics.

          Fact is at $30k you now just have retired people that don’t need an income, people that can make more money because they’re in the leg (lawyers), and people who’ve had an increase from their current employers because a company couldn’t have a better lobbyist than an in-house legislator.

          The more we tighten the screws and limit access to the legislature the more we screw ourselves.

          1. I doubt he’ll get nominated to anything after this.

            We learn from our mistakes. Or in this case, others learn from their mistakes (and I get to say “I told you so”).

            I just wish more people would realize that as long as human beings are involved politics cannot be made perfect. All it can do is try to muddle through as best as possible.

  15. No need to discern intent.
    The language is unambiguous.
    Sorry we cannot retroactively try to read Jared Polis’ mind. Jared hired top lawyers to help him. Jared’s top political adviser is a Lawyer, the leading supporter of Amendment 41 in the Legislature is a Lawyer. Jared knew what he was doing, Jared knew the consequences and went ahead. The voters went along and we are all going to have to live with it. To have the Lawyer who drafted  Amendment 41 come along and now say that the Legislature can ignore the clear language he wrote and change it to something a little more politically correct is wrong. Fact of the matter is most voters are not public employees and probably felt prohibiting gifts to the families of those employees is a good idea. Jared wanted to close every possible loophole and he did so. Stick to your guns Jared don’t wimp out now.

    1. from the link provided in the story above:

      “Polis has been furiously lobbying legislators to pass clarifying legislation regarding Amendment 41 (the ethics in government initiative)…Amendment 41 was intended to serve as a way to “clean up” government from the influence of rich lobbyists…”

      Also, you say, “Fact of the matter is most voters are not public employees and probably felt prohibiting gifts to the families of those employees is a good idea.”


      Most voters looked at a ballot with 14 issues on it, saw one that said “ethics in government” and voted yes.  Show me ONE example of how a legislator was influenced because the child of a lobbyist got a scholarship to college.  Most asinine thing I’ve ever heard.

      1. And not what Polis and others actually submitted to the people.  Even if Polis (and Carroll, and others) are asking for clarifying legislation, the language of the amendment would seem to prohibit more than the most innocuous (and ineffective) changes.

        You shouldn’t need to ask for clarifying legislation that might be unconstitutional; it should have been submitted with good wording in the first place.

        1. It should have been submitted with good wording in the first place.

          I’m frustrated about the scope of impact, that many good people are caught in the A-41 net (myself included).  A-41’s idea of instilling ethics in government has turned ethical people in government off.

          I like the intent behind the Amendment, but look forward to a plethora of lawsuits over the next year. 

          Sue Mark, sue!

      2. You’re asking me to show an example of where a legislator was influenced because he got a scholarship to a college (say, CU).  (I think you meant to say this; the gift ban applies to legislators, not so much to lobbyists.)  I’ll never know, because I don’t reside inside their brains…

        It’s the same question you get from people who support e-voting machines as they are today: show me an example of where they were used to steal an election.  If it’s done “right”, you can’t answer that question with proof.

        You have to at least make an attempt at preventative legislation when it comes to ethics and integrity; analyze for potential flaws and legislate to patch the flaws.

        Could you not imagine a legislator acting in the interests of CU because their child is currently attending under a scholarship?  I can.

      3. “Most voters looked at a ballot with 14 issues on it, saw one that said “ethics in government” and voted yes.  Show me ONE example of how a legislator was influenced because the child of a lobbyist got a scholarship to college.  Most asinine thing I’ve ever heard.

        I wonder how many voters for A-41 fully support AARP, NRA, American Legion, VFW, et al speaking up for them? It would be interesting to study the cost to legislators, (ie. tax payers) if they had to have staff to study all sides of issues before them. From Stem cells to nano tech, education to ground water pollution, highway funds for repair & expansion to protecting our borders – how does each elected official become knowledgeable enough on this vast list to vote intelligently, let alone find time to understand his voters preferences?

        Lobbyists do have a function, corruption needs to be dealt with in and of itself. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

        “Sometimes in life we make a big mistake focusing only on what’s urgent,
        to the detriment of what’s important.”

          — Stephen Covey

  16. Jared hires the best election Lawyer in the State to write #41.
    He thumps his chest and says what a good boy I am when it passes.
    Oops someone criticizes poor Jared. Now because he is such a good and rich little boy he wants the Legislature to ignore the very language that his high priced Lawyer wrote.
    Sorry Jared even for rich little boys there are consequences. Instead of drafting a good initiative you drafted a terrible one. So now Jared trying to call back all of the IOU’s he got from where? His big contributions.
    If Jared wants to change the law that his people wrote then put a new initiative on the ballot. You cannot clarify something that is crystal clear. There is no wiggle room.
    Jared got exactly what he wanted. Now he wants something else. Sorry. Jared’s lawyer wrote something clear,easily understood and unambiguous. What is there to clarify? Nothing.
    That is why the Law is written down. Courts follow the law they are not mind readers. Especially when it is the mind of a rich little spoiled child who changes his mind about what he means and wants all the time. Under the logic advanced if next month Jared changes his mind about what he thinks #41 should mean does the Legislature have to pass another Law?

  17. Why else do we elect legislators if not to do this type of task? Write your Rep & state Senator, get on them to act not CYA.

    Did the voters really want to have legislature hiring lawyers to interpret what they can and cannot do regarding A-41? Now another gubmint group is in the mix of things. ANd janitors at CSU, state police in Steamboat Sprgs – their children cannot accept earned scholarships by strict interpretation of A-41.

    Sometimes in life we make a big mistake focusing only on what’s urgent,
    to the detriment of what’s important.

      — Stephen Covey

  18. So after the strangling of higher ed in CO due to TABOR, we are now telling professors that they can’t accept a Nobel?  Actually, this thing prohibits more than just Nobels.  It (according to Suthers) prohibits any “gift” over $50 that is not conditioned on future work.  In addition to Nobels, this would seem to rule out a MacArthur “genius grant”, as well as any of the numerous awards given by scientific and professional societies for outstanding past work or other service.  Can CU/CSU/Mines grad students who work as teaching assistants or in other capacities for the university accept unconditional grants or scholarships from outside entities?  CO already is having trouble attracting good talent to the state universities.  A-41 is going to make this worse, I think.  If nothing else, it shows prospective hires that the state is liable to keep on blundering when it comes to higher ed.

    Jared Polis can whine all he wants that he didn’t intend for the amendment to be interpreted in this manner.  Well, guess what, it’s the AG and the courts who get to decide, not Jared.  If the legislature wants to try to fix it, let them, but it just doesn’t sound like there’s much room for wiggling out of these constraints.

    Someone needs to tell Jared that bilking a few hundred million bucks from some silly dot-commers does not qualify him to write legislation.  I actually met the man a few years ago.  I was hoping that he might have matured a bit since then and recognized his limitations.  It doesn’t seem that way.

  19. I haven’t read the full text of A-41 nor do I intend to at this point, but it seems like we have a lot of people who have. So let me ask this – does the language preventing “gifts” say anything else that could be interpreted to mean no scholarships and Nobel prizes? Because if the language doesn’t say that I fail to see how it can apply to such things that clearly are not gifts. Those things have to be earned.

    1. A-41 requires that the giver receive “lawful consideration of equal or greater value” in return, otherwise it’s a prohibited gift.  “Rewards” and “honoraria” are specifically included in the language describing gifts.  I am not a lawyer; the AG has determined that an award such as a Nobel for *past* work would be prohibited.  Research grants, where the research work would be the “lawful consideration”, are apparently OK.  The scholarship issue may not be quite as dire as some have said. I just read the AG’s letter in full, and it implies that a scholarship simply requiring enrollment at a college or university would fulfill the requirement for lawful consideration.  But a simple monetary award with “no strings” seems to be what is forbidden.

      However, the AG thinks that a Red Cross grant of aid, since it comes with no strings, might also be prohibited.  That’s not good at all.

      The actual letter from the AG to Hank Brown is here:


      1. GeoGreg,
        Thanks, your statement: “The scholarship issue may not be quite as dire as some have said. I just read the AG’s letter in full, and it implies that a scholarship simply requiring enrollment at a college or university would fulfill the requirement for lawful consideration.  But a simple monetary award with “no strings” seems to be what is forbidden.

        However, the AG thinks that a Red Cross grant of aid, since it comes with no strings, might also be prohibited.  That’s not good at all.

        ” is the best, (hopeful) interpretation I have read to date. Now if only legislators agree and get some clarifying verbiage published to this effect. 

        “Against logic there is no armor like ignorance ” 
          —  Laurence J. Peter

        1. I don’t know whether the ethics gestapo and/or the courts would consider a requirement that the scholarship recipient enroll in a college or university as lawful consideration of equal or greater value than the scholarship amount. If not, then it’s a gift, baby!

          And regardless, the disaster victims who can’t take Red Cross aid are still out in the cold….

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