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State Senator Morgan Carroll and Representative Lois Court's ballot-initiative transparency bill, HB 1035, passed Monday unanimously out of the Senate and with a wide majority in the House. The deep support for the bill is notably rare when it comes to legislation that seeks to tweak Colorado's ballot initiative process, an intentionally loose process loved by citizens and special interests alike.
Colorado voters are making too much law and the wrong kind of law at the ballot box, according to a growing list of elected officials, analysts and experts. Critics of the state's famously loose ballot-initiative process agree it unnecessarily opens up the state constitution to improperly vetted amendments, which are extremely difficult to rework or repeal. The result: Bad laws that bog down government and generate extended and expensive lawsuits.
During a hearing on legislation that would reform Colorado's ballot initiative process, GOP lawmaker stuns colleagues with off-topic questions targeting labor official.
Legislation introduced by Colorado House Speaker Terrance Carroll that would reform the state's notoriously loose ballot initiative petition process passed the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on Tuesday with an unanimous vote, underlining the bipartisan support the bill has gained in the week since it was introduced, partly due to the collaborative approach the speaker, a Denver Democrat, used in drafting the language.
House Speaker Terrance Carroll, D-Denver, introduced legislation on Tuesday designed to address abuses that plagued the ballot initiative process in Colorado last election season. Co-sponsored in the House by Lois Court, D-Denver, and in the Senate by Majority Leader Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, the bill aims narrowly to address the petitioning process, where signatures in support of initiatives are gathered, and particularly "concerns raised regarding the use of paid petition circulators," according to a House Democratic Party press release.
Jeff Gross, author of a budget-gutting ballot initiative, has refused to address any questions posed by state reviewers, including how its proposed tax amounts could even pay for the cost of collecting them. With the final version of the initiative unchanged, the riddle will be left for voters to contemplate on Election Day -- should it be approved for the ballot.
According to firebrand former Colorado lobbyist Freda Poundstone, "People voted for [Barack] Obama because they're desperate and want change." And to Poundstone, the change Colorado needs comes in the form of a ballot initiative she's co-sponsoring that would drastically limit state revenue by slashing taxes and fees. The plan, which is making its way through the review process on its way to the 2010 ballot, stands in stark opposition to the stimulus-spending mantra coming out of Washington, D.C.
Louis Schroeder came to the State Capitol on Friday to attend a review hearing on a ballot initiative he authored that aims to radically reduce Colorado property taxes. Schroeder and four staff members from the government's Legislative Council and Legal Services offices sat around a long table in a narrow room for more than an hour, considering a 10-page report staffers had prepared on various legal points.
Is Barack Obama's birth certificate a fake? Has he illegally sneaked lessons he learned as an infant born somewhere "over there" into the highest office of the land? That's one of the more popular set of ideas animating attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this week in D.C. and, Colorado voters will be pleased to learn, one that also informs an amendment appearing on the list of proposed initiatives for the 2010 ballot.
In the months since voters passed Colorado's controversial Amendment 54 in November, and from the moment it passed into law on the last day of December, its expanding implications have slowly come into focus, spurring heated arguments for and against it. As a high-powered lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the amendment wends its way to court, detractors and supporters are pleading their cases in the court of public opinion, underlining the fact that the showdown over 54 is just the latest skirmish in a larger battle over the evolution in lawmaking away from legislatures and toward ballot initiatives.