Citizen Legislator

Citizen Legislator

I borrowed the title of this post from the book of the same name written by David Schmidt. While I have not read the book I feel compelled to present this position for your consideration. For me this is a RIGHT of the Citizens to petition the government to enact laws that reflect those governed.

Amendment 71 seeks to reduce the power and capability of the citizens to impact the way government impacts their life. It would require qualified petition signatures of 2% of registered voters from the 35 Senate Districts to achieve ballot status. Additionally it would require a super majority of 55% for passage.

Doesn’t sound unreasonable and that’s what the supporters are counting on! The reality is completely different. If one Senate District fails to get the required signatures it fails. Colorado has more than a few sparsely populated regions where this is a possibility, and the supporters know it. We call this the tyranny of the minority. It’s in the news every day. One complaint and the school district is face to drop a harmless program. One complaint a city punishes the majority. You can fill in your own example and you know it is true and works.

This amendment is neither conservative or liberty advancing. Advertising has been created to portray that some terrible wrong has been committed when it has not.

Supporters rightly point out we are a Representative Republic, where elected officials represent the governed. That’s fine until those elected officials represent “special interest” groups or their own ambitions over the Citizens they represent.

At every caucus that I attended there is a resolution to support National term limits. It will never happen because the Congressman and Senators will have nothing to do with it. But we are fortunate that in Colorado we have term limits on State offices. Here’s a question, did those State elected officials voluntarily offer to limit their terms? NO! It was a Constitutional Amendment offered by Citizen Legislators that did that.

Tax Payer Bill of Rights (TABOR) was a Constitutional Amendment offered by Citizen Legislators. It would have never passed in the State House when left up to politicians. Colorado is unique in its Constitutional process. We must preserve this option.

Comments from a previous post focus on an idea that the Front Range provides all the petition signatures, leaving the rest of the State unrepresented. It takes approximately 98,000 signatures to get an amendment to the ballot stage. There is nothing prohibiting the Western Slope or any other area of the state from advancing their own ideas and getting the required signatures. There is not a single area of the State that has a monopoly on ideas! Population density is an advantage, but if you are mad about that and want to show those “front range” people a thing or two then you are playing into hopes of the “special interest” and politicians who want to protect their influence.

Other comments lament the ridiculous nature of the amendment objective. Who will be the arbitrator the objective? The VOTERS. You can expect amendments from the “Right” and the “Left” but the VOTERS will ultimately decide the question. If this is your objection, then you have been sold on the deceptive advertising created by the supporters.

So who are these supporters? When you look at the web site you’ll see, Chambers of Commerce and esteemed elected officials. Officials who in a current capacity would never pass term limits or TABOR. Officials who cherish their influence and power. I’m not a current Chamber member but I know there many members who are outstanding individuals. But as a group they are subject to “group think”. Few would dare to offer opposing opinions for fear of being targeted or ostracized by their peers. Thankfully I am free of that concern.

There are many who will succumb to the pious advertising campaign from the YES crowd, which is unfortunate. When the cause of Liberty is diminished we are all diminished! The current process is just fine. Vote NO on Amendment 71.

Normally I try to keep my post short, forgive for the length. Share this with your friends.

“Sandpaper on the conscience of politicians and group thinkers.”

8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. mamajama55 says:

    PP, I'm with you on the "No on 71". However, you seem to think that TABOR was a great idea – I see TABOR as the main reason Colorado ranks 42nd in school funding in the country. I get that you're a "Liberty" guy which carries some conservative and tea party connotations – are you against funding public education in favor of more charter schools?

  2. marklane1351 says:

    In Coloraado 5 percent of the total number of votes cast for the office of Colorado secretary of state in the preceding general election are needed to place an ammendmant on the ballot. The same number of signatures is required for constitutional amendments, statutes and referendums. In 2009-2010 that number has been 76,047 signatures. Between 2015-2018 that number is 98,492 signatures. The issue is does anybody outside of metro Denver deserve a say in what gets on the ballot. Currently the answer is no.






    YearAmendmentStatuteVeto referendum2015-201898,49298,49298,4922011-201486,10586,10586,1052009-201076,04776,04776,047

    DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Colorado Constitution, Article V, Section 1, ¶ 2


  3. marklane1351 says:

    My proposal would be to pass amendment 71

  4. JohnInDenver says:

    Requiring 2% of voters to sign in every Senate district seems pretty extreme. Is there any other state that sets the requirement for signatures in such a fashion?

  5. notaskinnycook says:

    Other states' standards must be tougher or we wouldn't be the proving ground for every hare-brained scheme that crosses the mind of some extreme right-or-left leaning do-gooder or tightwad. It seems if it won't fly here, it's a waste of time and money to try elsewhere.

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