Modification 71 — the modification that positioned sizeable burdens in entrance of citizen efforts to amend the Colorado Structure — was voted into legislation by Coloradans final November. The modification requires that petitioners should collect signatures from 2 % of all of Colorado’s 35 Senate districts. On high of that, the modification imposed a 55 % super-majority for any newly proposed amendments.
There was no scarcity of irony within the creation of this authorized monstrosity. The creators of Modification 71, also referred to as “Elevate the Bar,” didn’t even trouble to satisfy the minimal necessities of their very own proposed restrictions. Did anyone take time to verify and see if Elevate the Bar gathered verifiable signatures from all Colorado’s Senate districts? Spoiler alert: They didn’t.
Additionally, fear-mongering about particular curiosity boogeymen was a typical narrative pushed by 71 proponents. Out-of-state carpetbaggers with deep pockets had been focusing on the “simply amendable” Colorado Structure as a way to foist their company pursuits upon our state’s voters — or so the 71 proponents claimed.
This, after all, neglects to say that the largest supporters of this modification had been the oil and fuel trade, who helped elevate practically $6 million in assist of 71. Now, solely these with deep coffers — the exact same particular pursuits proponents warned us about — can make investments the sources essential to mount a statewide petition to amend the Structure.
It must be famous that 71 was an answer to an issue that didn’t truly exist. Of the 155 amendments to the Colorado Structure, solely 42 of them got here from the citizen petition course of — not even a 3rd of the whole. The vast majority of the amendments got here from the Colorado Normal Meeting. Modification 71 set zero restrictions on state legislators’ skill to amend.
For these conserving rating, solely well-funded lobbyists and politicians get to say what goes into the Colorado Structure now due to 71. Chalk up one other level for unintended penalties.
Fortuitously, the natives remained stressed. A renewed opposition to this poorly designed and deeply flawed modification has picked up steam. A lawsuit filed by legal professional Ralph Ogden will query the constitutionality of the modification in federal courts.
Particulars of the authorized problem had been introduced at a latest press convention that happened at Civic Middle Park in Denver. Additionally talking on the convention was a various number of presenters: Dennis Polhill, senior fellow with the Independence Institute, and Micah Parkin, govt director of 350Colorado.org. As demonstrated by the audio system — one from a libertarian assume tank, the opposite an anti-fracking activist — opposition to this modification crosses conventional partisan and ideological traces.
Including to the variety of voices opposing 71 are teams just like the Libertarian Social gathering of Colorado, Coalition for Colorado Common Well being Care, and different organizations that initially opposed the modification previous to November 2016. These teams enthusiastically iterate their continued opposition to any authorized effort that removes political energy out of the arms of residents and locations it straight into these of political elites. Moreover, they search to assist the authorized problem introduced by Ogden, and enthusiastically encourage others to do the identical.
Jay Stooksberry is a member of the Libertarian Social gathering of Colorado and chair of the Libertarian Social gathering of Delta County.
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