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October 26, 2016 08:14 AM MDT

Left and right agree: vote NO on Amendment 71

  • by: NO on 71

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Meet one of Colorado’s most conservative Republicans, Rep. Justin Everett.

And one of his most liberal colleagues in the Colorado legislature, Rep. Joseph Salazar.

Everett and Salazar don’t agree on much. But one thing they do agree on: vote NO on Amendment 71.


56 thoughts on “Left and right agree: vote NO on Amendment 71

    1. Also yes but agree. As evidenced right here on this blog it's not strictly left/right and I think there are more rightie no voters than  leftie yes voters. Which seems odd considering we lefty noes are constantly being told how it will benefit the big money right.  Maybe rightie anti-choice, anti-gay, pro-personhood etc. folks think it will make it even harder than it already is to get their religious right crap passed.

  1. Not just a "no" but two "hell no's" from our house.  There are any number of ways to make Amending the Constitution more challenging that we would agree with.  Rigging the signature gathering requirement is not one of them.  

  2. Five HELL NO! votes from my house. Am 71 is a project of the oil and gas industry–75% of the funding. They want to create a playground on which only they and other corporate and rich folks can succeed and keep out those commoner citizen groups. There are better ways of encouraging statues over constitutional amendments–especially give statute initiatives a "safe harbor" provision, where for a period of time (maybe five years) they could be changed only by a super majority of the legislature. 

    Groups go for constitutional amendments over statutes because in the past the legislature has not respected the will of the people. Also, more constitutional ballot questions have been placed by the legislature that by initiative. 

    Am 71 gets the problem wrong, it gets the blame wrong, and it gets the solution wrong. Kill this thing and come up with a better solution.

    1. Frankly, I don't understand what the problem is?  I don't see any.  It's only those who would take power away from the people who support this.  I simply don't favor that.  I know lots of liberals are still mad about the Tabor Amendment, but the state has survived.  If you don't like it, take it to another vote and make you're case.  If you want issues like marijuana and assisted suicide to get on the ballot, you have to vote no.  Essentially what Amendment 71 does is end the right of citizens to put matters on the ballot, and probably ends it for everyone.   There are conservative districts in which you won't get the number of signatures on liberal initiatives and liberal districts in which you won't get the signatures for conservative ballot issues.  Amendment 71 is an attempt to do away with initiatives and referendums.  It's that simple.  The rest is just hot air.  The people have the ultimate power here and they should.  This is nothing but an attempt by sniveling politicians and big money to take the power away from us and give it to themselves.

      1. That depends on how you view a constiution. Is it an organic law that outlines framework of government and limitations on government. Or is it simply a way of preventing the legislature changing initiated statutes.

  3. Safe harbor is no incentive to go statutory because it is still weaker than the forever untouchable constitution.  At minimum, we need a higher number of signitures gathered plus a supermajority,at least 55 percent, to pass.  71 without the 2 pct from every district would have been more salable, so maybe that is the choice in 2018.  

    1. A higher number of signatures makes it more expensive, putting it out of reach for grassroots organizations just like the 2% is intended to do. That is still leaves the constitutional route a "rich guys only" game.

      I have been directly involved in four initiatives. All directly involved legislators, and were things they would not do themselves (after years of trying). Those initiatives passed 63%, 63%, 64% and 74%. I am not worried about the 55% barrier for those kind of issues. Still, when elected officials can get in office with less than a majority of votes, I oppose requiring a super majority of citizens for approval of initiatives.

      1. Special interests already buy their way to the ballot at about $3 a signature by professional firms,  $600,000 buys a spot on the ballot.  $10 million or so buys the election.  I hope you enjoy your constitutional protection that states gays are second class citizens and tabor's assurance that your kids will get a shitty education.. and someday soon you can be proud that fertilised eggs are people.   We havethe best constitution the koch brothers can buy and you want to keep it that way.

        1. And special interests on both the left and right will be equally affected by blockage from majority left leaning or majority right leaning districts. As with the US constitution, only overwhelmingly broad consensus will allow constitutional change and that's as it should be. It should not be a  substitute substitute for legislation.

          But the closely divided legislature won't do it's job? Legislative majorities are easier to change than anything baked into the constitution.  Demographic change is more likely to lead to better legislatures with majorities that can and will legislate the tough stuff before such a time as we could ever start removing bad amendments even under present rules. In the meantime I'm for anything that stops us from adding more handcuffing clutter that will make future good legislatures' jobs that much harder.

          Our constitution is already a bad joke that makes it nearly impossible for any legislature to do its job. That's a problem.

          1. I hope you realize that although Am 71 allows repealing prior amendments by the old rules, any changes/alternations/improvements/tweaks require the new system. So you can't correct problems with prior initiated amendments–it is either repeal or use the new difficult system. If you think the current system has created problems, this make it harder to correct the problems.

            1. Yes I do realize. I wonder if you realize that the sort of amendments you'd like to see passed are already largely blocked by Big and Gas and Oil. Try, for instance, getting an anti-fracking amendment passed under the rules we have right now. And I hope you realize how futile it is already to try tweaking, say TABOR, in any significant way via amendment.

              I'm not saying that stopping the addition of new hand tying amendments is going to undo all the damage the amendments we have now pose. Conversely, under the rules we already have no amount of money has managed to get the voters to pass personhood but the proposed new ones will stop the addition of more, including bad stuff because of the geographic distribution for signatures requirement. That will work both ways and not give the right an advantage, regardless of money. 

              The way I see it, we can't get lousy stuff like TABOR out of the constitution as is so I don't see that as a reason to oppose. I do see a future where we could have a legislature capable of and willing to do their job and I don't want to keep adding more things to tie their hands.

              But I already voted yes. You already voted no. And we've been over all this a zillion times.

            2. I hope you realize that although Am 71 allows repealing prior amendments by the old rules

              I've seen that stated here a couple of times, but I believe that understanding is incorrect.  The "repeal under the old rules" language only appears in Section I (4)(b) and Section II (1)(b), which are the sections related to the number of votes required to pass an amendment at the election.  Section I (2.5), the new section describing the requirement for collecting petition signatures by senate district, has no such language that I can see.

              So, using TABOR as an example, you'd only need a 50%+1 vote, but you'd have to collect enough signatures from all the senate districts.

              1. Thanks for that clarification. However, as I said above, the signature requirement, not the 55%, is the more restrictive provision and the part I most oppose.

  4. Two 'yes' votes from our house. If a proposal can't get 2,000 (or thereabouts) signatures from areas across the state, it doesn't belong on the ballot.


    1. BS.  Tell me you're going to get 2,000 signatures form an eastern plains Senate District to protect abortion rights, or allow right to die or marijuana?  Tell me you're going to get 2,000 signatures in Capital Hill for vouchers or anything else on the conservative agenda.  Not going to happen.

      1. Thatl'$ silly craig.  A senate district has more than 100,00voters.  You claim they are so uniform that you can't find 2,000 conservatives in capital hill or prairie liberals like mike bowman in Wray?  100 percent unanimity is a myth.

          1. Exactly, BC.

            The congressional district idea looks good from the outside, until you look at a map and see that all the required signatures could be gathered within shouting distance of I-25.


        1. One of the arguments the supporters made earlier in the campaign was their outrage that one of the anti-oil and gas initiatives (that got pulled) gathered 70% of its signatures from metro Denver and Boulder and Larimer counties. How unrepresentative, they implied!

          So what's the population of metro Denver and Boulder and Larimer counties? About 65% percent of the state's population. Pretty representative and democratic it seems to me.

          The "representative" argument is bogus. They just want to make it almost impossible for anyone but the deep pockets to get an amendment on the ballot.

        2. I could have been a 'Yes' vote had the signature requirement been carved out by Congressional districts. Even though there are nearly half the signature requirements of SD-1 in Yuma County alone (there are 954 of us), I still maintain issues like Amendment 37 (2004) would never have made it to the ballot. The rural electrics have far too much sway with their preposterous  War on Rural Colorado and  Keep Electricity Affordable stunts. 

          1. But Michael, once the Sovereign Kingdom of Northern and Eastern Colorado secedes from the rest of the state and Marilyn Musgrave is crowned queen with Ken Buck as her prime minister, nothing more will matter. 

            But please take Cory Gardner with you folk when you leave…..

            1. You've forgotten the Minister of Hunger Nutrition, our favorite watermelon farmer – and the Minister of Gunz Defense, 'Obama Tears' Sonnenburg. If only we could coax Fluffy into the District to be our Baghdad Bob Minister of Misinformation.  

              1. Upon further thought, Frank, I think we should bestow our Minister of Hunger position to our junior Senator given his obsession with ending the food stamp program during the last Farm Bill debate (a failed attempt, but did earn him some stars with HQ in Wichita).  That takes us back to our watermelon farmer.  Given his rich history as the Watermelon Slaughterer, we can make him the titular head of the department charged with eliminating the eastern plains ISIS threat, a/k/a the Julesburg Jihad. 

                Our cup overfloweth. 

  5. I voted yes on this thing although it could be better drafted and I really don't expect it to pass. When it comes back in 2 or 4 or 6 years, they should change the signature qualifying jurisdictions from the state senate districts to the congressional districts much as they have for collecting signatures to get on the primary ballots statewide. Collecting signatures in 35 districts is a bit excessive, seven is more realistic.

  6. Let's face it. Right now the process works pretty well for getting amendments on the ballot as the current signature requirement keeps frivilous ideas on the bench but allows those that are of a concern to a significant number of Coloradans to be brought forth FOR THE REAL VOTE – that's when people get to have their yay or nay say on the amendment. The real need we currently have is to increase the number of people who actually read and understand amendments prior to voting.

    1. You're right.  There is no problem here.  Majority rules, plain and simple.  I expect a huge yes vote on this in rural areas and a huge no vote from the areas of this state which have larger populations.  The nonsense about not having a say is just that, nonsense.  Everyone has their say in November.  The majority of all the state rules.

  7. Why are Mayors Hancock and Webb supporting this?? It looks to me as an effort by energy companies to prevent a fracking amendment, the end result though will be to make it impossible to ever get TABOR off Colorado's neck. What are they thinking????

    1. Flatiron, B.C. is correct. We can't undo TABOR in one fell swoop. It was passed before initiatives were limited to a single subject. TABOR meanders all over the budget process. We'll have to take it down piece by piece. I suppose it could be done in one election, but it would make for a gawdawful long ballot, and people bitch about how long they are, already.

      1. I can go a long way to detox tabor by simply replacing the archaic CPI with personal income growth as the "inflation " factor.   That's one issue.   There are a lot of junk things, like the flat ban on real estate transfer taxes, that might have to be addressed individually.  

  8. I am really surprised to see so many differing opinions here about this. I assumed it was an easy NO vote once you see how much it's being pushed by frackers, among others. It also seems to me it's a last ditch effort for Koch-surrogates to lock in our Constitution before we go too far blue for them to matter years down the road.

    2 No votes from my household.

    1. The antifrackers dream that they can ban fracking statewide and not have it count as a "taking" if only they put their theft of property rights in the state constitution.  They are wrong. We landownets will sue under the fifth amendment to the federal constitution.  I frankly hope you do it!  I think my compensation under the federal lawsuit will be much higher than the modest royalties I could receive from the curennt depressed market.  Fracking is so efficient it has created a glut of supply aand low energy prices.  But freezing out fracking as a class will send prices soaring again –annd with it my legal settlement from the takings suit.  The uber left's ignorance of economics and the law is its one saving grace!

    2. There are a number of lite-Republicans on this site who are still all bi-partisan-y and think Michael Bennet is a progressive. They have all sorts of imaginary scenarios where wishes and hopes come true…

      I have grown tired of dealing with people who know everything and can't be wrong.

        1. I wonder if I'm Republican-Lite, have supposedly been insisting that Bennet is Mr. Progressive or have just been a pain in the ass know it all. You know. Just like you, V. angel

  9. Easy NO vote? Only if one has not completely studied all the facts. Again, a YES vote from my single person household. This may not be the best way to clean up our hopelessly messy state Constitution, but it's a start. And with proper safeguards, I'd rather have product from fracking here in the US instead of sending so many of our dollars to backward and despotic countries of the Middle East; or to corrupt Venezuela. After all, until there is a greater surge of product from renewables, and the surge is coming, we all still need to heat our homes and fuel our vehicles.  

    (disclosure: I have both active and passive solar at my home in Lakewood and get all my electricity from Xcel's Windsource program)

  10. $28 Million reported by the supporters of 71 so far (and more not yet reported), 92% of it from nine sources, all nine oil and gas. They are trying to buy themselves control of Colorado's Constitution.

    1. And yet, 71 probably isn't going to make it which will kind of undermine the position that we need to keep changing the constitution as easy as changing socks no matter how clogged up and twisted it gets because…. Big Money.  

      1. Sometimes big money fails to buy an election. Sometimes it succeeds. I hope it fails this time. But what they are trying to buy here is keeping things off the ballot or keep them as statutes so they can get their will through lobbying the legislature to change them rather than have face the people.

        In addition to keeping bad ideas out of the constitution, Am 71 would keep good ideas from getting before the people for a vote. Three examples: The GAVEL amendment (every bill must get a hearing and a vote–no "pocket veto" by committee chair); campaign finance disclosure; and ethics in government. All three directly affect the legislature. Citizen groups spend years trying to get the legislature–both Rs and Ds–to pass such measures as statutes or refer them to the voters as either statutes or constitutional amendments. Both R's and Ds failed to do so. Initiatives are the people's answer when legislatures fail to respond.

        It was obvious that the politicians would gut the GAVEL amendment if passed as a statute. They were quite clear about that. Thus the constitution. Campaign finance reform was passed (66%) as a statute (Fair Campaign Practices Act) in 1996. In 2000 the legislature gutted it. Rs were responsible, but I know for a fact that many (though not all) Dem legislators were glad to see them do it. So it came back in 2002 as a constitutional amendment because the legislature did not respect the will of the people (passed 66%). The Ethics in Government initiative (passed 63% in 2006) was run as a constitutional amendment specifically in reaction to the legislature's gutting of the campaign finance statute.

        For each of these issues, the legislature simply refused for years–for decades–to take action. These issues were not addressed by "electing better legislators." It happened by the people's vote. And none of them would have survived being gutted by the legislature if adopted as statutes. 

        BC, as you have said before, we are not going to agree on this. But Am 71 is as bad a way of dealing with your concerns as one can find short of eliminating the constitutional initiative altogether.

        1. Wrong, gaf.   The sunshine law is just that, a statute passed by the people.   The legislature never messed with it.

          But your system has brought us TABOR, which requires continuous tax cuts, and Amendment 10, which requires continuous spending increases!  How is that reconciled?   Well, the spending increases are only mandated for K-12 education. So, following tabor, we cut overall taxes by the amount that the consumer price index falls behind general economic growth, typically 1 to 2 percent a year.   Then we increase K-12 by CPI, population growth, and 1 pct.   So we gut everything else that doesn't have constitutional protection.  Among other things that means we have savaged higher education and saddled a generation of college students with appalling debt.

          Naturally, we also declare LGBT citizens to be legal lepers without the right to marry.   Even after the U.S. Supreme Court strikes that down. we leave the language in our constitution, just so they don't forget their place.

          and on and on.   In GAFtopia, the Colorado Constitution has 100 different priorities, and each of them is our FIRST priority.

          No, I'll never change your mind.   But I do have to live every day with the mess you  and your fellow mindless populists have made of our constitution.

          And so it goes.

  11. I understand that because I support the ability to have constitutional initiatives, you are blaming me for all the bad ones even if I opposed them. And, yes, the sunshine law is the exception–the only statue I know of that directly affects legislators that they have left alone. Do you deny they would have significantly changed GAVEL, campaign finance disclosure and ethics given the chance?

    I understand the problems with the interaction of several constitutional provisions. But it is not just TABOR and the school funding Am 23 of 2000 (I think that is the one you refer to as "Am 10"?). It is also the Gallagher Amendment of 1982. You didn't mention Gallagher, but Gallagher was a referred measure from the legislature, and that doesn't fit your anti-initiative narrative. Problems are not exclusive to initiatives.

    I don't take responsibility for bad decisions others made on amendments, but I would still rather have the option of those votes. I am all for representative government, but it is not perfect and the democratic outlet of initiatives–even constitutional ones–within limits, is necessary. We disagree on those limits. I lean toward more democracy, messy as it is, rather than less of it.

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