POSITION IN BRIEF: Support for more stringent requirements for the passage of constitutional amendments than for initiated statutes and protection from legislative change for initiated statutes for a minimum of two years.
POSITION: (Adopted 1995)
The LWVCO supports:
· A greater number of petition signatures for an initiated constitutional amendment than for an initiated statute.
· A super majority vote of the people for the passage of all (initiated or referred) constitutional amendments except for removing obsolete provisions.
· The current (1995) six-month time for gathering of signatures for both constitutional and statutory initiatives.
· The protection of an approved initiated statute from change by the General Assembly for a minimum of two years. Only a simple majority vote would be necessary after a two-year period.
Exceptions can be made for the following:
· Supreme Court review on constitutionality.
· Technical amendments.
The LWCO supported legislation in 1989 which changed the initiative process to require uniformity of petitions and validation of signatures, and to eliminate the “cure” period for gathering additional signatures after a petition has been filed.
During the 1993 session the LWVCO supported legislation to streamline the petition process, including random sampling to verify signatures, wearing of badges by petition circulators and changes in requirements for local government elections. The “cure” period for gathering additional signatures is now back in Colorado. (The cure period occurs if the initial signatures submitted to the Secretary of State fall short of the required number needed to qualify for the ballot and so an extra amount of time is allowed to gather additional signatures).
The Supreme Court has upheld a provision that petition circulators do not need to wear badges or be registered to vote in Colorado.
LWVCO supported a legislative proposal appearing on the 1996 ballot calling for a 60% supermajority vote for constitutional amendments and protection of voter approved, initiated statutory amendments. Voters defeated this proposal. We opposed legislation calling for a geographical spread of signature requirements for constitutional amendments in 1997. It failed.
In 2008 SCR3 was sent to the ballot with LWVCO support. It was another attempt to increase the number of petition signatures for a constitutional amendment, a geographic distribution of petition signatures, and a six year protection from changes to statutory initiatives unless the General Assembly had a two-thirds vote to change. LWVCO opposed the geographic distribution. This ballot issue failed.
LWVCO has supported several bills over the last few years that attempted to clarify language and instruct voters, such as including information on what an initiative and referendum are, and wording that a “yes” or “no” vote is to support or oppose the issue. Some have passed and others haven’t. We continue to support clarity and transparency of ballot issues.
We have also supported bills that clarify the petition process. Definitions of issue committees and amounts of expenditures that trigger requirements to register as a committee have been proposed in most recent sessions.