Insomnia Log

This is what keeps me awake at night???

Who needs sleep? (well you’re never gonna get it)
Who needs sleep? (tell me what’s that for)
Who needs sleep? (be happy with what you’re getting,
There’s a guy who’s been awake since the second world war)

-- words and music by Steven Page & Ed Robertson

Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States

Everything you need to know about me can be found in my posts

Monday, December 11, 2006

I'm Ethics-Challenged

The Daily Camera endorsed Amendment 41 in the recent election. I opposed it.

Well, Amendment 41 passed. And now a number of problems are cropping up. For example, there is some concern that the law would prevent CU profs from accepting awards like the Nobel Prize. There is also concern that children of university employees may not be able to accept scholarships.

These things should be no-brainers. But, go back and re-read the new law. (Or, read it for the first time if you were stupid enough not to read it before voting for it.) Yes, we the enlightened voters of the State of Colorado voted to ban all monetary gifts to all government employees at all levels.

Now the Camera is back-pedalling a bit. They are calling on the State Legislature to clarify the new law. Unfortunately, this doesn't work, because Amendment 41 was written as a constitutional amendment, which can only be changed by a vote of the people. That is unless the courts (read: activist judges) were to weigh in.

Clearly this is exactly the sort of situation that the diabolical authors of the amendment intended, and they are probably giggling to see the liberal university wondering they can keep their elitist awards.

I wrote a letter to the editors of the Camera, which they may or may not publish:
When the editors at the Camera endorse a ballot issue, they have the responsibility to read and understand it first. In the case of Amendment 41, they obviously didn’t (not even its blue book summary.)

The new law enacts a gift ban for elected officials, government employees, and contractors. They cannot accept any monetary gifts. Neither can they (or their immediate families) accept non-monetary gifts with cumulative values over $50 per year. There are exceptions for gifts from friends or relatives on special occasions and for items of trivial value and items received as part of the person’s job duties.

The law does not restrict the limitations to gifts from lobbyists or in exchange for special consideration. The purpose of the law is to provide a clear, unambiguous standard of behavior, and that standard is clearly described.

The Camera’s editorial staff has fallen prey to Amendment 41 campaign materials, or their own wishful thinking about what they want this law to cover. But wishful thinking does not change what was approved by a majority of Coloradans.

Now, the Camera wants the legislature to enact clarifying legislation. But they should know better. Amendment 41 is enshrined in our state constitution. It can only be modified by the courts or the voters. The authors knew that when they wrote it and convinced us to vote for it. And now we’re stuck with expensive court cases and the loss of public employees who don’t want to be held to the impossible standards of the new law. I’d quit now if I had a government job.

At a minimum, the Camera should apologize for contributing to this situation and should be the first to sponsor an initiative in the next election to fix the problems in this initiative.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice article, you make a very good point.

Thu Jan 04, 10:07:00 AM  

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