Citizen rights group examines the consequences of a Colorado initiative bill passed in 2009
By Kyle Maichle
Jon Caldara and Linda Gorman were both proponents of Amendment 63. The amendment would have established the right to privately contract for health care in Colorado. The proponents of the amendment are facing lawsuits over allegations that 50 circulators could have committed fraud while gathering signatures to qualify the amendment. The fraud allegations were based on the circulator's affidavit not properly filled out on the petitions.
Currently, a provision exists in House Bill 1326 that allows initiative proponents to be sued and held liable over any wrongdoing committed by others during a campaign. A federal court is expected to decide if the provision would be overturned. In 2010, a federal judge barred Colorado from enforcing two provisions in HB 1326. Those provisions included paying circulators per the signature along with a ban out-of-state petition circulators. The bill was approved in 2009 with bi-partisan support in the General Assembly.
The Citizens in Charge Foundation argued that House Bill 1326 is "the biggest single legislative attack on statewide petition rights in modern history." The argument is based on other states reversing bans on out-of-state circulators and pay-per-signature. The citizen's rights group said that the risk of violating constitutional rights "didn’t stop this bi-partisan legislative attack."