Democrats and Republicans come together to end “ballot initiative warfare”
DENVER, Feb 14, 2011— Today, a bipartisan concurrent resolution to allow Colorado voters to reform the Colorado Constitutional initiative process passed out of the State Affairs Committee. The resolution is sponsored by Senate President Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont) and Senator Nancy Spence (R-Centennial). If passed by the legislature, the resolution will go to Colorado voters for approval.
President Shaffer offered the following comment on the legislation today: “This is a bipartisan measure that will allow Colorado voters to protect this state’s foundational document, and end the ballot initiative warfare that has been so destructive and wasteful to our business community. Instead of spending millions of dollars opposing proposed constitutional changes that will negatively impact our economy, the business community will now be able to re-invest those dollars in creating Colorado jobs.” Currently, amending the Colorado Constitution requires only a 50 percent majority vote of the people. Proposed amendments to the Colorado Constitution are placed on the ballot by gathering a required number of signatures (five percent of the number of voters in the most recent Secretary of State election) or by a two thirds vote of the Colorado General Assembly. To place a citizen initiative on the ballot, signatures can come from just one region of the state. Like constitutional amendments, changes to Colorado statutes can also be placed on the statewide ballot through the gathering of the required number of signatures. State statute also requires a 50 percent vote of the legislature to repeal state statutes. If passed by the legislature, Senate Bill SCR11-001 will give Colorado voters the chance to:
- 1. Increase the number of votes needed to pass a constitutional amendment from 50 percent to 60 percent.
- 2. Require that 70 percent of the signatures gathered to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot must come from voters in each congressional district across the state of Colorado.
- 3. Allow constitutional amendments passed prior to 2013 to be repealed by a 50 percent vote (this would not apply to SCR11-001).
- 4. Protect citizen-initiated laws for three years after they become effective by increasing the required vote of the legislature to two-thirds to change or repeal such a statute.