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State senator wants to clamp down on initiatives
As if the process is not already complicated enough, Democratic state Sen. Brandon Shaffer of Longmont wants to make it harder for the people of Colorado to initiate their own laws. Surprisingly, the Times-Call agrees.
Our First Amendment right to petition our government is involved here and considering the glut of laws the Colorado Legislature passes every year, mostly to control our lives, the number of initiated proposals adopted by the people pales in comparison. A state web page titled “Session Laws of Colorado 2010 Second Regular Session, Table of Enacted House Bills” shows 431 bills were passed with four vetoed; a separate table of enacted Senate Bills shows 217 were passed with no veto. Total bills enacted, 644?
In contrast, in 2008 only four of 14 proposed amendments passed and in the 2010 election, only one of seven was approved. Don’t underestimate the wisdom of Colorado voters.
Some of Shaffer’s ideas:
–Require a 60 percent majority statewide vote to pass an initiative. (Okay then, to be fair, every law passed by the state legislature should require a 60 percent majority vote in both houses.)
–Require initiative petition signatures to be gathered in each of the state’s seven congressional districts; increase the number of signatures needed. (These steps won’t have much effect on discouraging the moneyed interests but will hamper the process for the common people.)
The basis for most of this ongoing bluster over constitutional amendments is TABOR. Instead of huffing and puffing over that law which has been on the books for nearly 20 years now, why not simply write an amendment to repeal it, gather the necessary signatures and put it to a vote of the people? The same can be said of the Gallagher Amendment and Amendment 23.
Really, are we incapable of governing ourselves?