Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Who Rules Colorado?

Colorado is a really nice place — and not just for the weather and scenery. I mean politically.

It’s arguably the only state in the union where the politicians, lobbyists and special interests are much more politically frustrated than are the people.
By way of the initiative and referendum process, Rocky Mountain State voters gained the upper hand. Coloradans term-limited their legislators and passed a constitutional amendment called the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which disallows legislators from raising taxes or hiking spending without voter approval.

Legislators, lobbyists and special interests are not amused.

That’s why an insider group called Raise the Bar is pushing Amendment 71, which would block citizens from using the initiative to amend the constitution. The group has already raised $2.7 million — more than any other ballot measure committee. That big money is coming from powerful lobbies and special interests and being spent on a misleading television ad barrage about “protecting” the constitution.

From the people.

Amendment 71 blocks initiative amendments, making only statutory initiatives available to citizens seeking reform. As campaign finance reformers learned when the legislature gutted their voter-approved statutory measure, it is essential that voters be able to amend
the constitution.

Otherwise, legislators have the upper hand.

Sen. Pat Steadman, a spokesperson for 71, admitted as much in a recent debate, stating that “things like campaign finance regulation, or marijuana, or hunting season . . . are not things that should be enshrined in our constitution. These are policy issues . . . that the legislature should have the ability to weigh in and to update the laws as needed.”

In other words, support Amendment 71 so that legislators can be the boss again, updating the laws as they wish and overruling the voters at will.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

Printable PDF

Colorado, Yes on 71, No on 71, Raise the Bar, Amendment 71


By: Redactor


  1. John says:

    Colorado is overpriced and overrated. They are known for their high cost of living and low wages if your goal is to live in poverty move to Colorado.

  2. Pat says:

    Is the legislature really that hamstrung? What stops the legislature from amending CO’s constitution? Just about anything the people can do by initiative can probably be undone by the legislature, if there is enough support for the action.
    I look at the US Constitution. Alcohol prohibition was once ‘enshrined’, until it was reversed by a later amendment. What stops CO legislators from taking similar action?

    • David Aitken says:

      All amendments to the constitution have to be approved by a vote of the people. The legislature can only change statutory laws.

  3. Mike says:

    The pro 71 ads complain that there are too many initiatives on the ballot.  They forget to mention that 2/3s of them are referred there by the legislature, not the people.

  4. Dave says:

    You mean you WANT greenies to ban fracking? Amendment 71 means they’ll never even come close to doing it. I’m for 71.

  5. Deborah Sampson says:

    I’ve only lived in Colorado for 17 years, but I’ve seen too many things go in the Constitution that should not be there. And I’ve watched most of these get on the ballot entirely from the front range, specifically Denver. I like the idea of state-wide involvement in R&I amendments.

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