More criticism against anti-union initiative petitions

A second complaint has been filed with the secretary of state’s office, questioning the way petition signatures were obtained to support initiatives seeking a spot on the 2008 state ballot.

On Tuesday, Protect Colorado’s Future, a coalition of labor unions and advocacy groups, announced a complaint against proponents of two initiatives that would bar public employee payroll deductions to labor unions and restrict political contributions by government contractors.

The complaint alleges that hired petition circulators broke the law by claiming that individuals could sign the initiative petitions as a different person or even if they weren’t registered to vote.

In April, Protect Colorado’s Future issued a similar complaint with the secretary of state against proponents of a “right-to-work” proposal, titled Amendment 47, that is currently on the ballot and seeks to restrict the way unions organize in the state, claiming that petitions to put the initiative on the ballot were not collected properly under law.

Both complaints involve Colorado Springs-based Kennedy Enterprises, a consulting firm hired in both cases to collect petition signatures.

Those trying to put measures up for a vote must submit signatures to the state by Aug. 4; about 76,000 signatures are required.

The two proposals concerning public employee payroll deductions (Amendment 53) and government contractors (Amendment 59) are being sponsored by the Golden-based Independence Institute, a conservative think tank. Signatures for Amendment 53 were turned into the state today.

Protect Colorado’s Future is also collecting signatures to support its own proposals, one which would make corporate executives liable for any fraud associated with their companies and another to make employers give a reason when workers are fired.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at

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