Colorado Use of Streams Amendment (2010)
|Not on Ballot|
| This measure did not or |
will not appear on a ballot
The proposed amendment, along with a competing measure that instead called for limiting the use of rivers, were filed on March 26, 2010 in reaction to lawmaker inaction and an impending initiative deadline. A bill, House Bill 1188, proposed establishing the right for commercial rafters to float through private property. The bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Curry. The bill was later changed in a Senate committee to open most rivers to "all river enthusiasts." However, as of May 11, 2010 the bill was defeated in a conference committee. Rep. Curry said, "I'm disappointed that the bill is dead, but it's not over. I regret that we were unable to find a solution. I don't think the ballot process is going to solve the problem."
In the early 1900s the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that fisherman couldn't wade into rivers on private land to fish. The ruling included rivers that were stocked with fish by the state. A similar ruling was made in 1979. In the 1979 case, People v. Emmert the state's high court ruled that although the defendants (river rafters) in the case did not encroach on property they were guilty of trespassing. According to the ruling, the court held that the "landowner has the right to close public access to streams overlying his lands." Additionally, the court said, "We hold that the public has no right to the use of waters overlying private lands for recreational purposes without the consent of the owner."
Path to the ballot
- See also: Colorado signature requirements
In order to qualify the proposed measure for the 2010 ballot a minimum of 76,047 valid signatures were required. The signature filing deadline for the 2010 ballot in Colorado for initiated constitutional amendments was August 2, 2010. However, as of petition deadline day, no signatures were filed.
- The Colorado Independent, "Landowner will allow rafting through property after bill sinks," May 15, 2010
- The Colorado Independent, "Boating bill swamped by controversy, may lead to summer of river conflict," May 13, 2010
- Associated Press, "Colo. lawmakers end session by passing tenure bill," May 13, 2010
- The Denver Post, "A record 24 Colorado ballot issues filed on rafting amid lawmaker inaction," March 27, 2010
- The Durango Herald, "Both sides float initiatives over rafting issue," March 27, 2010
- Associated Press, "Bill To Regulate Rafting On Colorado Rivers Dies," May 12, 2010
- The Denver Post, "Colorado rafting access likely headed to November ballot," May 12, 2010
- Wall Street Journal, "In This Political Battle, a River Runs Through It," April 8, 2010
- Colorado Supreme Court, "People v. Emmert, 597 P. 2d 1025 - Colo: Supreme Court 1979," August 13, 1979
- Prior to the enactment of Colorado House Bill 1326 (2009), the signature deadline for initiated statutes and initiated amendments was the same--3 months before the election.
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