Amendments and Propositions

Below are summaries of and the arguments for and against, the amendments and propositions on the 2018 statewide ballot. The position taken by Colorado Democratic Party Central Committee on each is in parentheses.

Amendment V (YES)

Referred to the voters by the state legislature

Assembly age

Amendment V proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to lower the age requirement for serving in the state legislature from 25 to 21.  The state constitution requires that a representative or senator in the state legislature be at least 25 years old, be a United States citizen, and reside in the district from which he or she is elected for at least 12 months prior to being elected. Amendment V lowers the minimum age requirement 8 to 21.

Arguments For:  Excluding 21- to 24-year-olds from seeking election to the state legislature is an unnecessary restriction. A 21-year-old is considered an adult under the law. allowing younger candidates to run for office encourages the civic engagement of young people.

Arguments Against: The current age requirement strikes an appropriate balance between youth and experience.  Younger candidates may lack the maturity and expertise to be effective legislators. Lack of experience could hinder a young legislator’s ability to represent his or her constituents effectively.

Amendment W (YES)

Referred to the voters by the state legislature

Election Ballot Format for Judicial Retention Elections

The process approved by the voters in 1966 required justices and judges to be nominated by a judicial nominating commission and then appointed by the Governor. Thereafter, justices and judges must go before voters in a retention election to maintain their seat on the bench. Colorado justices serve on the Supreme Court, and judges serve in all other courts.

Amendment W proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to change the ballot format for judicial retention elections to remove the requirement that a retention question be asked for each justice and judge.

Argument For: Amendment W helps make the ballot more concise and reader-friendly.  A well laid-out and shorter ballot will allow voters to complete it more efficiently, which may encourage voter participation.

Argument Against:  Under the changes proposed in Amendment W, voters may be uncertain whether they are casting votes in a multi-candidate election or for each individual justice or judge. This potential confusion may increase the likelihood that voters will skip judicial retention questions.

Amendment X (YES)

Referred to the voters by the state legislature

Industrial Hemp Definition

Amendment X proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to remove the definition of “industrial hemp” from the Colorado Constitution and, instead, use the definition in federal law or state statute.

Amendment 64, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 6 Colorado in 2012, added a definition of “industrial hemp” to the Colorado Constitution. Amendment X removes the definition of industrial hemp from the state constitution and gives the term the same meaning as in federal law or state statute. In the event that federal law changes, Colorado would maintain compliance with federal regulation.

Argument For:  Colorado is the leading producer of industrial hemp in the country and the only state with a definition of industrial hemp in its constitution. Striking this definition will allow Colorado’s hemp industry to remain competitive with other states as the regulatory landscape evolves for this crop.

Argument Against:  Colorado voters added the definition of industrial hemp to the Colorado Constitution through the initiative process. The measure may deviate from the voter’s original intent.

Amendment Y (YES)

Referred to the voters by the state legislature

Congressional Redistricting

Amendment Y proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to create the Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission, consisting of an equal number of members from each of the state’s two largest political parties and unaffiliated voters, to amend and approve congressional district maps drawn by nonpartisan legislative staff; establish a process for selecting commissioners, new requirements for transparency and ethics, and a procedure for judicial review of commission maps; and  establish and prioritize the criteria the commission must use for adopting the state’s U.S. congressional district map.

Arguments For: Amendment Y limits the role of partisan politics in the congressional redistricting process by transferring the legislature’s role to an independent commission.  These provisions encourage political compromise by keeping political parties and politicians with a vested interest in the outcome from controlling the redistricting process.

Arguments Against: Amendment Y takes accountability out of the redistricting process. Unelected commissioners are not accountable to the voters of Colorado.

Amendment Z (YES)

Referred to the voters by the state legislature

Legislative Redistricting

Amendment Z proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to replace the Colorado Reapportionment Commission with the Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission, consisting of an equal number of members from each of the state’s two largest political parties and unaffiliated voters, to   amend and approve state legislative district maps drawn by nonpartisan legislative staff.

Arguments For:  Amendment Z limits the role of partisan politics in the legislative redistricting process. Through the commissioner selection process, checks and balances are in place to ensure no one political party controls the commission.

Arguments Against amendment Z reduces accountability in the redistricting process.  The resulting maps may serve to protect certain segments of the population at the expense of others and could result in districts that make no sense to voters.

Amendment A (YES)

Referred to the voters by the state legislature

Prohibit Slavery and Involuntary Servitude in All Circumstances

Amendment A proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to remove language that currently allows slavery and involuntary servitude to be used as punishment for the conviction of a crime.

Argument For: The section of the Colorado Constitution that allows slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime should be updated because it represents a time when not all people were seen as human beings or treated with dignity. Removing the language explicitly prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude in all circumstances and reflects Colorado’s commitment to equality and just treatment.

Argument Against: Slavery and involuntary servitude are already illegal. Therefore, the measure can be viewed as making a change to the Colorado Constitution that is merely symbolic.   Under another view, removing the language in the constitution could have the unintended consequence of raising legal uncertainty around current offender work requirements until legal precedent is established.

Amendment 73 (YES CDP SCC Endorsed)

2017-2018 Proposed Initiative #93

Funding for Public Schools

Amendment 73 proposes amending the Colorado Constitution and Colorado statutes to increase funding for preschool through twelfth grade (P-12) public education;  raise the state individual income tax rate for taxpayers with taxable income over $150,000, and increase the state corporate income tax rate to provide additional funding for education; and for property taxes levied by school districts, set the assessment rate at 7.0 percent for residential properties and decrease the assessment rate to 24.0 percent for most nonresidential properties

Arguments For: The state needs a sustainable source of revenue to adequately and equitably fund public education. Colorado cut P-12 public education funding as a result of the Great Recession, and funding levels have not recovered relative to what the formula would otherwise require, even though Colorado has one of the healthiest economies in the nation.  The state needs a sustainable source of revenue to adequately and equitably fund public education.

Arguments Against: The measure imposes a tax increase without any guarantee of increased academic achievement. A focus on educational reform and opportunity rather than new revenue is more likely to improve student outcomes.

Amendment 74 (NO!)

2017-2018 Proposed Initiative #108 – Constitutional

Just Compensation for Reduction in Fair Market Value by Government Law or Regulation

Amendment 74 proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to require the state or a local government to compensate a property owner if a law or regulation reduces the fair market value of his or her property.  Amendment 74 expands the circumstances under which the state or a local government is required to provide compensation to a property owner for a regulatory taking. Under this measure, a law or regulation that results in any decrease in the fair market value of a property, as opposed to the current standard of an almost total loss in value or use, becomes a regulatory taking.

Argument For: Amendment 74 ensures that when a property’s value is harmed by government action, the owner of that property is fairly compensated for the loss. current law does not require a government to compensate an owner unless the loss in value to the property is near total.

Argument Against: Amendment has potentially far-reaching and costly consequences for taxpayers and governments. The potential liability for large payouts to private property owners may discourage governments from making decisions that benefit communities and protect vital public resources, such as water, air, and infrastructure.

Amendment 75 (No Position)

2017-2018 Proposed Initiative #173 – Constitutional

Campaign Contributions

Amendment 75 proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to increase campaign contribution limits when a candidate loans or contributes at least $1.0 million to his or her own campaign, by allowing all candidates in the same election to collect five times the level of individual contributions currently authorized in the state constitution.

Argument For:  Wealthy candidates have an unfair advantage in elections because current 9 campaign finance laws allow them to contribute vast sums of their personal 10 resources to their own campaigns. It offers an effective way to encourage competitive elections.

Argument Against:  Colorado’s campaign finance system is broken, and this measure further 17 complicates the system without truly addressing financial disparities among candidates. Opening the door to more money is not the way to fix 21 Colorado’s campaign finance system.

Proposition 109 (NO!)

2017-2018 Proposed Initiative #167 – Statutory

Authorize Bonds for Transportation Projects

Proposition 109 proposes amending the Colorado statutes to require the state to borrow up to $3.5 billion in 2019 to fund up to specific highway projects;  direct the state to identify a source of funds to repay the borrowed amount without raising taxes or fees; and limit the total repayment amount, including principal and interest, to $5.2 billion over 20 years.

Arguments For:  Proposition 109 accelerates the construction of essential highway projects without raising taxes or fees. The state has failed to invest sufficient funds to maintain and expand the highway system. The measure corrects this by directing the state to prioritize highway projects ahead of other programs.

Arguments Against:  Proposition 109 commits up to $5.2 billion to repay borrowing without creating a new source of revenue.  The measure would pay for only a portion of the projects and fails to address the cost of ongoing maintenance of these projects.  Under this measure, approximately $1.7 billion in taxpayer money will be spent on interest payments

Proposition 110 (YES)

2017-2018 Proposed Initiative #153 – Statutory

Transportation Funding

Proposition 110 proposes amending the Colorado statutes to increase the state’s sales and use tax rate from 2.9 percent to 3.52 percent for 20 years; distribute the new tax revenue for transportation as follows: 45 percent to the state; 40 percent to local governments; and 15 percent for multimodal transportation projects; and permit the state to borrow up to $6.0 billion for transportation projects and limit the total repayment amount, including principal and interest, to $9.4 billion over 20 years

Arguments For:  Colorado’s highways are deteriorating, and the cost of improvements continues to increase. The state needs to invest immediately in its infrastructure and cannot afford to expand and modernize its transportation system without a new revenue source.  This measure creates a flexible statewide transportation solution, and it lets local communities identify their own transportation projects and prioritize their most urgent needs

Arguments Against:  Proposition 110 raises taxes for a fundamental government service that should be fully funded through the state budget. Sales taxes, which are already high, provide a poor method of funding transportation.

Proposition 111 (Yes – CDP SCC Endorsed)

2017-2018 Proposed Initiative #126 – Statutory

Payday Loans

Proposition 111 proposes amending the Colorado statutes to reduce the total cost for a payday loan to a 36 percent annual percentage rate; and expand what constitutes unfair or deceptive trade practices for payday lending.

Argument For:  Coloradans are paying too much to borrow small amounts of money from payday lenders. The APR for these loans can exceed 180 percent. Because the measure reduces the high cost of payday loans, consumers may be better able to repay their loans and avoid further financial stress.

Argument Against: This measure may eliminate the payday lending business in Colorado. Payday loans provide options for consumers who may not qualify for other types of credit.   This measure is unnecessary because the state legislature passed reforms in 2010 that led to reduced loan costs and fewer defaults, while ensuring that consumers have access to a well-regulated source of short-term credit.

Proposition 112 (Yes – CDP SCC Endorsed)

2017-2018 Proposed Initiative #97 – Statutory

Setback Requirement for Oil and Gas Development

Proposition 112 proposes amending the Colorado statutes to require that new oil and natural gas development be located at least 2,500 feet from occupied structures, water sources, and areas designated as vulnerable.   If two or more local governments with overlapping boundaries  establish different setbacks, Proposition 112 requires that the greater distance be used.   The measure does not apply to federal land, which includes national forests and 13 parks and comprises about 36 percent of the land in Colorado.

Arguments For:  Oil and natural gas operations may adversely impact public health, safety, and  the environment.  Proposition 112 also establishes a required setback from water sources and

Arguments Against:  Proposition 112 eliminates new oil and natural gas activity on most non-federal land in Colorado. Proposition 112 will reduce the economic benefits  the oil and natural gas industry provides for the state and may result in the loss of jobs, lower payments to mineral owners, and reduced tax revenue that is used for local schools and other governmental services and programs.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail