Colorado politicians have hatched a scheme, Senate Concurrent Amendment 1, that may solve the awful problem of those pesky Colorado voters passing reforms like term limits and the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, the state’s quite effective spending cap.
SCR-1 solves the alleged problem of too many constitutional amendments by — you guessed it — enacting yet another constitutional amendment. As the Senate yesterday passed SCR-1, sending it to the House, Democratic Senator Linda Newell of Denver complained, “I am embarrassed to see how many changes are in our constitution.”
She should be. While most of the 16 amendments enacted in the last decade were proposed by legislators (ten, or 62.5 percent), the measure the snooty senator supports is designed to disrupt only the citizen initiative process.
SCR-1 prevents a majority of Colorado voters from passing amendments by requiring a 60 percent supermajority — that is, allowing a 40 percent minority to block any reform. This works great for big labor and big business interests who can spend big bucks running nasty 30-second TV ads to create enough doubt to hold an initiative one vote under 60 percent.
Worse yet, if SCR-1 passes, legislators would still be able to put term limits or the state’s spending limit on the ballot for repeal by a simple majority. An interesting principle: new reform requires a supermajority, but lower percentages may gut term limits or dump the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.