Vail Daily editorial: Here’s a good idea
High-profile politicians from both parties in Colorado last week launched a petition drive in hopes of asking voters to make the state’s constitution harder to amend. That’s a worthwhile effort.
Colorado’s constitution now is easy to amend. That’s why we end up with big items and small enshrined not in state statute but in the hard-to-repeal corners of the state’s founding document.
The constitution has been amended to limit taxes and spending, and the way property tax collections are divided between residential and commercial property. But the constitution has also been amended to ban trapping and eliminate bear-hunting in the spring. Those should be departmental regulations, not constitutional amendments.
The petition drive started last week is called Raise the Bar. If put on the ballot and approved, the measure would require proponents of ballot initiatives to gather signatures from 2 percent of all registered voters in every one of Colorado’s 35 State Senate districts. That means instead of sending a flock of petition-pushers into grocery store parking lots between Fort Collins and Pueblo, people backing an initiative would have to spend the time and effort to head out to towns including Durango, Grand Junction, Steamboat Springs, and, maybe, Vail.
The proposal would also require a constitutional amendment to pass with a 55 percent majority.
The proposal seems to be drawing support from across the political spectrum. Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is a backer. So is former Gov. Bill Owens, a Republican.
The main launch presentation was in Aurora, as you might expect. But similar events were held in Craig, Alamosa, Fort Morgan and other cities out in the relative hinterlands.
The Front Range has most of the state’s population, so will always have an outsized influence on the state’s politics. Raise the Bar seems a sensible way to give the rest of the state — the vast majority of Colorado’s geography — at least some voice in what ends up on our fall ballot.
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