FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 13, 2016
Contact: Mike Krause, 303-279-6536 ext 100 or Mike@i2i.org
Independence Institute Announces Political Right Coalition Against Amendment 71
Republicans, conservatives and Libertarians all agree: Don’t Rig the Bar, Colorado
DENVER – A broad and growing coalition on the political right has come together in opposition to Colorado’s Amendment 71, the well-funded effort to keep ordinary citizens and the grassroots from being able to access the citizens’ initiative process to amend Colorado’s Constitution.
The Don’t Rig the Bar coalition thus far includes: Independence Institute, Citizens in Charge, Americans for Tax Reform, Denver Republican Party, Jefferson County Republican Party, Eagle County Republican Party, Routt County Republican Party, Cheyenne County Republican Party, Colorado Log Cabin Republicans, Libertarian Party of Colorado, Coloradans for Civil Liberties, Arapahoe Tea Party, Lakewood Tea Party, 285 Tea Party, Northern Colorado Liberty Group, Colorado Union of Taxpayers, National Taxpayers Union, Colorado Issues Committee, Colorado Term Limits Coalition, U.S. Term Limits, The TABOR Committee, Colorado Firearms Coalition, Colorado Campaign for Life, Judicial Integrity Project, Jefferson County Republican Men’s Club, Colorado State board of Education chairman Steve Durham, former Denver Post Editorial Page Editor Vincent Carroll, former Senate President John Andrews, former Congressman Bob Beauprez, former Congressman Tom Tancredo, former State Senator Dave Schultheis, former State Senator Bruce Cairn, State Senator Tim Neville, State Senator John Cooke, State Senator Kevin Lundberg, State Senator Kent Lambert, State Rep. Kim Ransom, State Rep. Justin Everett, State Rep. Steve Humphrey, State Rep. Tim Leonard, 740 KVOR radio host Jeff Crank, 850 KOA radio host Mike Rosen, Adams County GOP Chair Anil Mathai, RTD Board Member Natalie Menten, Randy B. Corporon, esq., Regina Thompson, Richard Turnquist, victim rights advocate Kimberly Corban, and activist and author Laura Carno.
“Laws are how the legislature tells the people what to do, but the constitution is how the people tell the legislature what to do,” said former Colorado Senate President John Andrews. “The legislative power belongs to the people, except as some of it is delegated to the General Assembly. Amendment 71 stands that on its head.”
“Amendment 71 is being pushed by the big money special interests because if it passes they will run the State and average citizens will suffer,” notes State Rep. Justin Everett (R, HD-22).
“Instead of encouraging citizens to participate in their government, Amendment 71 only builds new and unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles,” adds State Senator Tim Neville (R, SD-16). “It’s the wrong prescription to improving our political process.”
“The disqualifier for me is its provision to repeal existing initiated amendments with only a simple majority,” notes 850 KOA radio host Mike Rosen. “This is a double standard. It smacks of Trojan Horse put there by some of Amendment 71’s creators to repeal the TABOR Amendment’s limitations on government spending and taxes.”
“We have always conceded that there should be different standards for amending the Constitution and passing statutory changes,” said Independence Institute President Jon Caldara. “And we could do that while still maintaining the integrity of citizens’ initiative. Unfortunately, this is not an effort to reform citizen access to the ballot, it is an effort to destroy it.”
Chief among the many flaws and dangers in A71:
- Amendment 71 is a power grab by Colorado’s political elite. Far from reforming the initiative process, it rigs the system, putting the initiative process out of reach to all but politicians, the mega-wealthy, and deep-pocket special interests
- Amendment 71 requires 2 percent of valid signatures from each of Colorado’s 35 Senate districts to put a measure on the ballot, meaning one left-leaning district in Boulder or Denver could kill a measure the rest of the state may want a chance to vote on. With typical elitist hypocrisy, proponents of Amendment 71 didn’t even meet the signature-gathering standard they demand the rest of us live up to.
- Amendment 71 changes the signature threshold from active voters to registered voters. While Senate districts have nearly uniform populations, they do not have a uniform number of registered voters; some districts have more single persons and families without children. As a result, the state’s largest district, SD-18, has 132,000 registered voters, fully 70 percent more than SD-21 with its 77,000 voters.
- Amendment 71 is an invitation for legal mayhem. Imagine the 35 different sets of lawsuits, at least one for each senate district, over any proposed amendment – a heyday for lawyers.
- Amendment 71 requires a super-majority of 55% to pass Constitutional amendments, but leaves in place the 50% standard for repealing amendments. Meaning an effort to repeal the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) would only need a simple majority, but any effort to strengthen TABOR would demand a super-majority. More elitist hypocrisy.
- Proponents of Amendment 71 could have included a requirement that they meet their own super-majority requirement for 71 to go on to effect. Cynically, they did not, because they knew it wouldn’t pass.
- Amendment 71 came out of “Building a Better Colorado,” which also tried, and failed, to put a measure on this year’s ballot for a 10 year time-out from the revenue limits in TABOR. The original plan was to gut TABOR, then slam the door shut on citizens’ initiative. A 71 is but one element of a well-funded attack on TABOR, which would lock in every past, and future, legislative and judicial weakening of TABOR, and ensure a TABOR strengthening measure will never make it on the ballot.
If you want to be included in the Don’t Rig the Bar Coalition, please contact Mike@i2i.org.
For more information, go to VoteNo71.org.