This referendum requires a bit of housekeeping from lawmakers. It seeks to eliminate obsolete provisions of the state constitution contained in Articles IV, VII and IX.
The proposed amendment to the Colorado Constitution: removes provisions that are obsolete; strikes references to one-time events that have already occurred; and removes voting requirements found unconstitutional by the Colorado Supreme Court in 1972. Background Obsolete provisions. A requirement that the Superintendent of Public Instruction serve as the state librarian is deleted because the superintendent position no longer exists. The Commissioner of Education replaced the Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1948. A provision concerning the eligibility of a person living in a poorhouse to vote or run for office is also deleted. Poorhouses, or publicly supported homes for the poor, no longer exist in Colorado. References to one-time events. The constitution required all agencies of state government to be divided among no more than 20 state departments by June 30, 1968. This requirement stemmed from a major reorganization of state government in the 1960s. The proposal removes the reference to June 30, 1968, but does not change the limit on the number of departments. The proposal also removes language regarding the expiration of terms for former State Board of Land Commissioners since they are no longer in office. Unconstitutional provisions. The proposal strikes a requirement in one section of the constitution that citizens live in the state for three months before being eligible to vote and a requirement in another section that citizens live in the state for at least one year before being eligible to vote. The Colorado Supreme Court held in 1972 that voting is a fundamental right that cannot be limited by imposing a three-month residency requirement. The court based its ruling on a U.S. Supreme Court decision that a similar residency requirement violated the U.S. Constitution. State law currently establishes a 30-day residency requirement for voters for all elections. Argument For 1) The proposal continues an effort to update the constitution by deleting unconstitutional and outdated language. Unconstitutional language can be confusing and misleading to readers who do not know the language has been nullified by a court. Outdated language clutters the constitution. Argument Against 1) All provisions of the constitution have historical significance. Removing these provisions may diminish the historical character of the constitution and make research of constitutional provisions and state laws more difficult. Estimate of Fiscal Impact The proposal does not affect state or local revenues or expenditures.
Ballot Title: Amendments to articles IV, VII, and IX of the constitution of the state of Colorado, concerning the elimination of obsolete provisions of the state constitution. Text of Proposal: Be It Resolved by the Senate of the Sixty-fourth General Assembly of the State of Colorado, the House of Representatives concurring herein: SECTION 1. At the next election at which such question may be submitted, there shall be submitted to the registered electors of the state of Colorado, for their approval or rejection, the following amendments to the constitution of the state of Colorado, to wit: Section 20 of article IV of the constitution of the state of Colorado is repealed as follows: Section 20. State librarian. The superintendent of public instruction shall be ex officio state librarian.
Section 22 of article IV of the constitution of the state of Colorado is amended to read: Section 22. Principal departments. All executive and administrative offices, agencies, and instrumentalities of the executive department of state government and their respective functions, powers, and duties, except for the office of governor and lieutenant-governor LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, shall be allocated by law among and within not more than twenty departments. by no later than June 30, 1968. Subsequently, all new powers or functions shall be assigned to departments, divisions, sections, or units in such manner as will tend to provide an orderly arrangement in the administrative organization of state government. Temporary commissions may be established by law and need not be allocated within a principal department. Nothing in this section shall supersede the provisions of section 13, article XII, of this constitution, except that the classified civil service of the state shall not extend to heads of principal departments established pursuant to this section. Section 1 of article VII of the constitution of the state of Colorado is amended to read: Section 1. Qualifications of elector. Every citizen of the United States who has attained the age of eighteen years, has resided in this state not less than one year next preceding the election at which he offers to vote and in the county, city, town, ward, or precinct FOR such time as may be prescribed by law, and has been duly registered as a voter if required by law shall be qualified to vote at all elections. except that the general assembly may by law extend to citizens of the United States who have resided in this state less than one year the right to vote for presidential and vice-presidential electors. Section 1a of article VII of the constitution of the state of Colorado is amended to read: Section 1a. Qualifications of elector – residence on federal land. Any other provision of this constitution with regard to “qualifications of electors” notwithstanding, every citizen of the United States who shall be otherwise qualified and shall have resided in this state not less than three months next preceding the election at which he offers to vote, and in the county or precinct such time as may be prescribed by law, shall be qualified to vote at all elections; provided, that the general assembly may by law extend to citizens of the United States who have resided in this state less than three months, the right to vote for presidential and vice-presidential electors, United States senators, and United States representatives. Any person who otherwise meets the requirements of law for voting in this state shall not be denied the right to vote in an election because of residence on land situated within this state that is under the jurisdiction of the United States. Section 4 of article VII of the constitution of the state of Colorado is amended to read: Section 4. When residence does not change. For the purpose of voting and eligibility to office, no person shall be deemed to have gained a residence by reason of his OR HER presence, or lost it by reason of his OR HER absence, while in the civil or military service of the state, or of the United States, nor while a student at any institution of learning, nor while kept at public expense in any poorhouse or other asylum, nor while confined in public prison. Section 9 (3) of article IX of the constitution of the state of Colorado is amended to read: Section 9. State board of land commissioners. (3) The governor shall appoint a new board of land Commissioners COMMISSIONERS on or before May 1, 1997. The term of each member shall be for four years; except that of the first board members appointed under this subsection (3), two members shall be appointed for terms that expire June 30, 1999, and three members shall be appointed for terms that expire June 30, 2001. The terms of office of the members of the board appointed prior to the effective date of this subsection (3) shall expire upon the confirmation of the appointment of the first three members of the first board appointed under this subsection (3). No member shall serve more than two consecutive terms. Members of the board shall be subject to removal, and vacancies on the board shall be filled, as provided in article IV, section 6 of this constitution. SECTION 2. Each elector voting at said election and desirous of voting for or against said amendment shall cast a vote as provided by law either “Yes” or “No” on the proposition: “AMENDMENTS TO ARTICLES IV, VII, AND IX OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF COLORADO, CONCERNING THE ELIMINATION OF OBSOLETE PROVISIONS OF THE STATE CONSTITUTION.” SECTION 3. The votes cast for the adoption or rejection of said amendment shall be canvassed and the result determined in the manner provided by law for the canvassing of votes for representatives in Congress, and if a majority of the electors voting on the question shall have voted “Yes”, the said amendment shall become a part of the state constitution.