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Colorado Constitution

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Colorado Constitution
800px-Flag of Colorado.svg.png
Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIIIXIVXVXVIXVIIXVIIIXIXXXXXIXXIIXXIIIXXIVXXVXXVIXXVIIXXVIIIXXIXSchedule
The Colorado Constitution is the basic governing document of the state of Colorado. It was drafted in March of 1876 and ratified by the state's voters on July 1, 1876, taking effect a month later on August 1, 1876 when Colorado became a state. The constitution includes a preamble and 29 sections.[1]

Features

Unlike many other states that have adopted wholesale new constitutions from time-to-time, the current constitution of Colorado is the only constitution the state has ever had. It has 27 articles and a schedule.[1]

In addition, the Colorado Constitution exceeds the U.S. Constitution in protections of free speech. The U.S. Constitution bars lawmakers from enacting rules "abridging the freedom of speech," but the Colorado Constitution does that and goes one further, spelling out a citizen's right to "speak, write or publish whatever he will on any subject." This clause has come into play in recent obscenity cases, limiting censorship here.[2]

The Colorado Constitution also takes a stand against racial discrimination, too, guaranteeing education to be free and available to all, regardless of skin color. Coming just a decade after the Civil War, an affirmative position like that was viewed as progressive.[2]

On the other side, the original constitution specifically puts off giving women the right to vote. The notion of women's suffrage was a movement by 1876, so this was a deliberate act and a clear stand that didn't last all that long in hindsight.[2]

Preamble

See also: Preambles to state constitutions

The constitution's preamble states:

We, the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, in order to form a more independent and perfect government; establish justice; insure tranquility; provide for the common defense; promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the "State of Colorado."[1]

Article I

Article I establishes the boundaries of the state.

Article II

Article II contains the Bill of Rights of the citizens of Colorado.

Article III

Article III declares the state government shall be divided into three distinct divisions, the legislative, executive and judicial.

Article IV

Article IV establishes the powers and limitations of the executive department.

Article V

Article V outlines the legislative department.

Article VI

Article VI frames the court system as well as the other sections of the judicial department.

Article VII

Article VII deals with suffrage and elections.

Article VIII

Article VIII describes state institutions, such as the seat of government and its location.

Article IX

Article IX concerns education in the state and that all public schools be free.

Article X

Article X concerns state revenue and taxation.

Article XI

Article XI describes indebtedness at all levels of government.

Article XII

Article XII concerns state officers, disqualifications, and removal from office.

Article XIII

Article XIII details the impeachment process.

Article XIV

Article XIV establishes distinct counties within the state. It also addresses the officers of these counties.

Article XV

Article XV describes the privileges, responsibilities, and limitations of corporations.

Article XVI

Article XVI concerns mining and irrigation.

Article XVII

Article XVII describes the state militia.

Article XVIII

Article XVIII has various miscellaneous sections.

Article XIX

Article XIX details the amendment process.

Article XX

Article XX concerns cities and towns.

Article XXI

Article XXI concerns the recall of officers and the filling of vacancies.

Article XXII

Article XXII repeals the Intoxicating Liquor Laws.

Article XXIII

Article XXIII has been repealed.

Article XXIV

Article XXIV concerns old age pensions.

Article XXV

Article XXV concerns public utilities.

Article XXVI

Article XXVI prohibits nuclear detonations within the state.

Article XXVII

Article XXVII establishes the Colorado Great Outdoors Program, which is dedicated to the preservation, protection, enhancement and management of the state's wildlife, park, river, trail and open space heritage.

Schedule

The Schedule is included to facilitate the transformation of Colorado from a territory to a state.

Amending the constitution

Main article: Amending state constitutions

There are three different ways to amend the Colorado Constitution. These paths to amendment are laid out in two different parts of the constitution:

History

Versions of the original Colorado Constitution were officially printed in Spanish, for those who considered themselves residents of "Estado de Colorado," and German, for recent immigrants living in "Staates Colorado." This multi-language effort was meant mainly to appease Spanish speakers in the state's south and recent immigrants to the Colorado area.[2]

See also

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External links

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Additional reading

References