05 September 2008

Colorado Ballot Measures

The final list of Colorado Ballot initiatives is out. Extended analysis will have to wait for another post. Some of the easier calls follow the list.

November 4, 2008 General Election Amendments and Referenda

Amendment 46 - Prohibition on Discrimination and Preferential Treatment by Colorado Governments
Amendment 47 - Prohibition on Certain Conditions of Employment
Amendment 48 - Definition of Person
Amendment 49 - Limitation on Public Payroll Deductions
Amendment 50 - Limited Gaming
Amendment 51 - State Sales Tax for Services for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
Amendment 52 - Severance Tax - Transportation
Amendment 53 - Liability of Business Entities and Their Executive Officials - Criminal Liability
Amendment 54 - Restrictions on Campaign Contributions from Government Sole-Source Contractors
Amendment 55 - Just Cause for Employee Discharge or Suspension
Amendment 56 - Employer Responsibility for Health Insurance
Amendment 57 - Safe Workplace
Amendment 58 - Severance Tax
Amendment 59 - Education Funding
Referendum L - Age Qualification for Serving in General Assembly
Referendum M - Elimination of Obsolete Constitutional Provisions Regarding Land Value Increase
Referendum N - Elimination of Obsolete Constitutional Provisions Regarding Intoxicating Liquors
Referendum O - Initiative Petition Requirements

46 -- Bad. Affirmative action is still needed to get us on track. It will probably pass, however, and the main effect is likely to be dramatic declines in minority enrollment at the most selective public colleges.

47 -- Bad. Pointlessly anti-union.

48 -- Bad. Unconstitutional for the most part, and havoc wrecking in unexpected ways to the extent given effect.

49 -- Bad. Gives corporations an unfair advantage over unions in political fundraising.

50 -- Indifferent. The changes in the gambling rules aren't necessarily so bad, but the justifications given for it and the disposition of additional revenues to locals are questionable.

L -- Good. Let the voters choose who they want to serve in the legislature.

M -- Good. The less junk in the state constitution the better.

N -- Good. Prohibition is long gone. Good riddance.

O -- Good. Even well meaning initiatives are often poorly crafted. There should be a distinction between iniatives and referrendums. And, the legislature can forge bipartisan constitutional amendments. It does entrench some existing bad language in the state constition, but given the single subject rule for initiatives, those problems are hard to solve via initiative anyway.

I am still studying the final versions of 51-59, which have much more recently been assigned their final numbers. Most initatives have multiple versions, so it pays to check which one got on the ballot.

Feel free to make your ballot initiative and referrendum pitches, pro and con, in the comments.


Dave Barnes said...

46 - Good. Time to get rid of racial quotas.

47 - Good. Bill Ritter upset the apple cart and now, hopefully, the unions will get havoc unleashed upon them.

LOG ME IN said...

Regarding Amendment 48, you might be interested to read an issue paper just published by the Coalition for Secular Government: "Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters That a Fertilized Egg Is Not a Person" by Ari Armstrong and myself. It's available at:


We discuss some of the serious implications of this proposed amendment, including its effects on the legality of abortion, birth control, and in vitro fertilization. And we offer a strong defense of abortion rights based on the biological facts of pregnancy.

Diana Hsieh, Coalition for Secular Government

Tenly said...

Thanks for this, Andrew.

Could you comment on the legality (or other aspects as you see fit) of the McCain/Palin "Compliance Fund"?

A banner appears repeatedly on fivethirtyeight.com and is also discussed on Kos.


Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

I don't have a strong opinion on the "Compliance Fund" in particular, or the technical campaign finance details involved.

Generally speaking, I think that campaign finance reform of the type exemplified in the McCain/Feingold bill and Amendment 27 is bad policy, so I am not deeply troubled by efforts to skirt it, although of course, McCain has more of a duty than many to honor the spirit as well as the language of his signature reform and other reforms made in the image of that bill.

Unknown said...

51 is an important statutory amendment NOT constitutional that will bring in desperately needed money to end Colorado's multi-year waiting list for children and adults with developmental disabilities. It is a grassroots measure without all the money of some of the more visable ballot issues. However, it is VERY important.


Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

My Amendment 50 analysis is here.