Proponents of anti-fracking measures turn in petition signatures
UPDATE: as of 3 p.m. Monday, supporters have turned in two anti-fracking ballot measures, an initiative to raise cigarette taxes and two measures that would allow unaffiliated voters to participate in either the regular state primary or a new presidential primary.
A last-minute push for signatures appears to have paid off for proponents of two ballot measures that would restrict or ban fracking in Colorado. The lead backer of the two measures told The Colorado Independent this morning that supporters will meet today’s 3 p.m. deadline to file petition signatures with the Secretary of State’s office.
The two petitions are among several that are expected to be turned in today, the deadline for submitting signatures for measures headed to the November ballot. The Secretary of State has 30 days to validate the signatures.
Tricia Olson, executive director of the Committee to Resist Extreme Energy Development (CREED) told The Colorado Independent this morning the proponents will be at the Secretary of State’s office later today. Supporters were still counting signatures as of 11 a.m., but told the Independent they are confident they have more than the 98,492 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.
As of Friday, backers of initiatives 75 and 78 were told to keep collecting signatures through the weekend, a sign that the measures still needed that last push.
Initiative 75 would change the state constitution to allow local governments to regulate fracking in their communities; and Initiative 78 would change the constitution to set into law a 2,500-foot distance between fracking rigs and homes, schools, hospitals and water sources.
Petitions for at least three other ballot measures are also expected to be turned in today.
Two ballot measures that could change Colorado’s primary system were turned in this morning with more than 310,000 signatures between them. The two measures are backed by Colorado Concern and the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce. Initiative 98 would allow unaffiliated voters to participate in taxpayer-funded primary elections. Initiative 140 would set up a presidential primary and allow unaffiliated voters to cast ballots. (During the spring, the Colorado General Assembly attempted to pass proposals to set up a presidential primary, in addition to caucuses, but the measures failed.)
Another ballot measure expected today would raise taxes on cigarette and tobacco products. The revenue would be spent on a variety of health services, including tobacco education and cessation, veterans’ services, and child behavioral programs.
Four ballot measures already have made the November ballot.
Amendment 69, known as ColoradoCare, would set up a universal system to cover all Coloradans with health care services.
Amendment T, placed on the ballot by the General Assembly, would strike slavery from the state constitution.
Amendment U, which also came from the legislature, would exempt property taxes for “possessory interest,” which is when a person or company leases government property for a private enterprise, such as a cattle rancher or airport concessionaire. Amendment U would exempt that leaseholder from property taxes if the actual value of the lease is $6,000 or less.
Finally, voters in the seven-county metro Denver area will be asked to renew the one penny-per-$10 tax that funds the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, which includes the metro area’s largest arts and cultural organizations as well as dozens of smaller groups. That measure was submitted by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, after working with the General Assembly on changes to the funding formula.
Another three initiatives, turned in between July 25 and August 4, are awaiting signature verification, on raising the minimum wage, changing the percentage of votes required to pass a constitutional ballot measure, and medical aid to the dying.
Each measure must collect at least 98,492 signatures, although virtually every group that submits petitions collects far more than that to ensure they have enough valid signatures.
Correction: description of Amendment U corrected to identify the property exempted as “possessory interest.”