No Time Left For 41, Lawyer Warns

UPDATE: Click here for the outcome of the Senate committee hearing.

It’s been four weeks to the day that majority and minority leaders in Colorado’s House and Senate announced a “compromise” over how to proceed with implementing Amendment 41.

But, even as House Joint Resolution 1029 is scheduled to be heard in a Senate committee this afternoon, a group behind the so-called Ethics in Government amendment that voters passed in November is also today planning to file the paperwork to set in motion an amendment that calls for clarifying language on this year’s statewide ballot – along with installing a $50 annual tax on lobbyists.

The reason? There simply is no time left, proponents say, to expect the Colorado Supreme Court to have enough time to weigh in. “There are three weeks left until the end of [legislative] session; it would be a Guinness world record to get this to and through the Supreme Court,” said Mark Grueskin, the Denver attorney who has been working with the original sponsors of Amendment 41.

“I honestly believed a month ago there would be progress to allow real resolution, and we’re not there. It’s just dragged on.”

Last Thursday, Grueskin said that if the legislature hasn’t referred an “appropriate” interrogatory to clarify a portion of the amendment’s language to the Supreme Court by close of business yesterday, April 17, his group would move forward with an initiative for this November’s ballot. That deadline has come and gone. In an interview late on Tuesday, Grueskin noted that Senate Bill 210 – which outlines the way that the amendment would be implemented – has been passed by the House. But the related House Joint Resolution,