Protecting the State Constitution -- Colorado 2008 Referendum O
As an illustration of the problem, of the 14 initiatives on the ballot this year, 11 are written as amendments to the constitution, while only 2 of them really belong there. No wonder -- if you really believe in your idea, wouldn't you rather make it incredibly hard to change once it is approved?
This is also a reason why I sometimes vote against measures that I would otherwise agree with. Putting even a good idea in the constitution is a bad idea if it is something that might need to be revisited over time.
Referendum O is an attempt by the state legislature to fix these problems. It does this by making it easier to get a statutory initiative on the ballot and harder to get a constitutional initiative on the ballot. Provisions include:
- The number of signatures required to get a statutory initiative on the ballot will be decreased, while the number required for a constitutional initiative will be increased.
- For constitutional initiatives only, a significant proportion of the signatures must be collected from every congressional district in the state, ensuring that it has broad appeal.
- Drafts of constitutional initiatives will be required to be submitted earlier in the election cycle, while providing more time for collection of signatures for statutory initiatives.
- Statutory initiatives will be protected, once passed, from any changes by the state legislature for five years, unless there is a 2/3 vote. This hopefully will give initiators comfort that their good idea won't be immediately undone if they go the statutory route.
- Public comment will be allowed on proposed initiatives at public meetings held after the draft proposal is submitted. The goal is to identify problems and unintended consequences before the proposed ballot measure is finalized.
Vote YES on Referendum O.