Colorado Expansion of Initiative Rights, Initiative 38 (2006)
The measure would have expanded the ability of citizens to propose laws and modified the laws governing the initiative process in Colorado. It also would have limited so-called legislative tampering, the ability of governing bodies to change, enact, or repeal citizen-initiated measures. Additionally, it would have limited the number of measures the Colorado General Assembly could exempt from the state's veto referendum process.
|Colorado Initiative 38 (2006)|
Election results via:Colorado Secretary of State Elections Department
Text of measure
|“||An amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning initiative and referendum petitions, and, in connection therewith, changing petition rights and procedures; allowing petitions to be submitted at all levels of Colorado government; limiting initiative ballot titles to 75 words; changing single subject requirements and procedures; limiting the annual number of new laws that governments may exclude from possible referendum petitions; establishing standards for review of filed petitions; specifying that petitions may be voted on at any November election; limiting the use of government resources to discuss a petition; requiring voter approval for future petition laws and rules and for changes to certain voter approved petitions; and authorizing measures to enforce the amendment.||”|
Summary and analysis
The Colorado Legislative Council is charged with providing a summary and analysis of each measure on the Colorado ballot. ("The state constitution requires that the nonpartisan research staff of the General Assembly prepare these analyses and distribute them in a ballot information booklet to registered voter households.")
To describe Amendment 38, they said:
| The Colorado Constitution currently provides two ways for citizens to propose changes to state, city, or town laws. In both processes, citizens collect a certain number of signatures on a petition to place a law change on the ballot. For one process, citizens propose a change that becomes law if voters approve it. For the second process, citizens challenge a law approved by elected officials. A challenged law takes effect only if voters approve it.
Amendment 38 expands the ability of citizens to propose and challenge laws at all levels of state and local government, including school districts, counties, special districts, authorities, and other special purpose government entities. Amendment 38 also changes existing procedures for placing a measure on the ballot by petition and applies them to all levels of government. Amendment 38 does not affect measures that governing bodies refer to voters. Tables 1 through 3 summarize differences between current procedures and the proposal. While the tables reflect local procedures in state law, procedures may vary under city or town charters or by local ordinance.
- See also: Fiscal impact statement
The fiscal estimate provided by the Colorado Legislative Council said:
The committee supporting the amendment was "Yes on 38."
Arguments in favor
Supporters argued that Amendment 38 would make local elected officials more responsive to constituents by extending the petition process to all state and local governments. They said it would encourage citizen reforms to improve government, and that such proposals would be subjected to months of public debate leading up to an election, encouraging voter interest and participation.
In addition, they argued that Amendment 38 would streamline petition procedures, making the petition process more workable for proponents and more helpful to voters.
Proponents said Amendment 38 would require governing bodies to respect the decisions of voters on ballot measures by requiring a vote of the people before changing that voter-approved policy.
|Total campaign cash|
$12,452 was contributed to the campaign in favor of a "yes" vote on Amendment 38.
Amendment 38 had four donors. They were:
|Voter Information Network||$10,400|
|Colorado Term Limits Coalition||$498|
|Jerome J. Roach||$250|
Groups opposing the measure included:
- Coloradans For Responsible Reform 2006
- Hospitality Issue PACt
- Colorado Springs Vote No On 38
- the Bell Ballot Action Fund
- People For The American Way Voters Alliance of Colorado.
Opponents argued that Amendment 38 would weaken representative government. Citizens elect representatives to consider all points of view on issues, to make policy decisions, and to change those decisions when necessary. Under Amendment 38, they feared, more laws might be enacted that have not received sufficient refinement.
They argued further that Amendment 38 would encourage abuse of the petition process by eliminating safeguards, such as limiting the ability of election officials to check petition signatures and shortening the time for protesting signatures. They warned that a sound petition process should include sufficient checks and balances.
Opponents also expressed concern that Amendment 38 might result in voters having to decide an increasing number of complex policy issues with less analysis than they have today.
Opponents worried that Amendment 38 would limit governments' ability to respond to changing circumstances or emergencies, since unless specifically provided in the law, lawmakers cannot amend any law adopted by voters through the petition process.
$2,171,418 was contributed to the campaign in favor of a "no" vote on Amendment 38. $1,109,517 was contributed just to defeat Amendment 38; the remaining funds opposing Amendment 38 were spent by committees that also campaigned on behalf of other 2006 Colorado ballot measures. Because of the way records are kept in Colorado, it is not possible to definitely say how much of that approximately $1 million was spent just on campaign activities directed against Amendment 38.
|Total campaign cash|
Donors of $50,000 and over were:
|Colorado Restaurant Association||$449,239|
|Colorado Association of Realtors||$255,499|
|National Restaurant Association||$173,000|
|Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce||$105,923|
|Colorado Association of Home Builders||$50,000|
|National Education Association||$50,000|
|Laws • History|
|List of measures|
- Colorado 2006 ballot measures
- List of Colorado ballot measures
- 2006 ballot measures
- History of Initiative & Referendum in Colorado
- Colorado Blue Book on Amendment 38
- Colorado State Legislative Council, Ballot History
- November 7, 2006 ballot measure election results in Colorado
- Colorado State Legislative Council, "Ballot History," accessed February 25, 2014
- Secretary of State elections office, 2006 Amendments and Referenda, accessed January 7, 2014
- 2006 Colorado Blue Book Overview of the November 7, 2006 ballot measures
- Follow the Money, List of donors to "Yes on 38"
- Follow the Money, List of donors to "No on 38"