Difference between revisions of "Colorado House Bill 1326 (2009)"

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| Awaiting vote            =  
| Awaiting vote            =  
| Committee                = [[State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee, Colorado House of Representatives|State, Veterans & Military Affairs]]
| Committee                = [[State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee, Colorado House of Representatives|State, Veterans & Military Affairs]]
| Approved lower house     = April 15, 2009
| State house             = Approved April 15, 2009
| Vote lower house        =  
| Vote lower house        =  
| Approved upper house    = May 1, 2009
| Approved upper house    = May 1, 2009

Revision as of 16:46, 1 February 2011

Colorado House Bill 1326 (2009)
800px-Flag of Colorado.svg.png
Text:HB 1326
Legislative History
Introduced:March 24, 2009
State house:Approved April 15, 2009
Governor:Bill Ritter
Signed:May 29, 2009
Legal Environment
State law:Laws governing the initiative process in Colorado
Code:Elections code
Colorado House Bill 1326 was signed into law by Gov. Bill Ritter on Friday, May 29, 2009. The law was sponsored in the Colorado State Legislature by politicians Terrance Carroll, Brandon Shaffer, Josh Penry, Mike May, and Lois Court.[1] HB 1326 places several restrictions on the initiative process.

On June 11, 2010, a federal judge in Colorado issued a preliminary injunction against the Colorado Secretary of State, forbidding the state government of Colorado from enforcing certain provisions of the law.[2]

HB 1326 includes these provisions:[3]

  • It restricts campaigns from paying circulators on a pay-per-signature basis to only twenty percent of a circulator's total salary.
  • People who successfully challenge the validity of signatures in court could sue the campaign to recover attorney's fee.
  • Ballot measures that change state laws (initiated state statutes) will henceforward be referred to as "propositions".
  • Requires that petition drive management companies who hire paid circulators go through a licensing process.
  • Petition sheet must carry a label to warn people that their signature will help place the question on the ballot.
  • Circulators who collect more than 100 signatures are required to go through a government-sponsored training procedure before they are allowed to collect additional signatures legally.
  • People who sign a petition and later change their mind will be able to have their signature withdrawn.[4]

Additionally, HB 1326 changed the deadline for submitting signatures.[5]

HB 1326 says with respect to signature deadlines (text appearing in previous versions of the statute is stricken-out and NEW TEXT IS IN ALL CAPS):

1-40-108. Petition - time of filing. (1) No petition for any ballot issue shall be of any effect unless filed with the secretary of state within six months from the date that the titles and submission clause have been fixed and determined pursuant to the provisions of sections 1-40-106 and 1-40-107 and unless filed with the secretary of state within the time required by the state constitution NO LATER THAN THREE MONTHS AND THREE WEEKS before the election at which it is to be voted upon. A petition for a ballot issue for the election to be held in November of odd-numbered years shall be filed with the secretary of state within the same time NO LATER THAN THREE MONTHS AND THREE WEEKS before such odd-year election. as is required by the state constitution for issues to be voted on at the general election. All filings under this section must be made by 3 p.m. on the day of filing.[6]

Some sources say that with respect to signature-filing deadlines, HB 1326 conflicts with the Colorado Constitution and that the signature deadline is still three months (not three months and three weeks) before the election, putting the deadline in 2010 on August 2. At least one initiative sponsor has received a letter from the Colorado Secretary of State putting the 2010 deadline on August 2.[7]

Federal lawsuit

See also: Independence Institute v. Colorado Secretary of State

The Independence Institute, headed by activist Jon Caldara, along with other petition rights supporters filed a lawsuit in federal court in 2010 challenging the constitutionality of HB 1326. Caldera claimed that House Bill 1326 would violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on the basis of restricting freedom of speech. Also, Caldara argued that by restricting pay-per-signature would make it more expensive to conduct initiative campaigns. Arguments were heard in the District of Colorado federal court on May 13, 2010 on the matter.[8]

On Friday, June 11, federal district judge Philip Brimmer issued a 39-page preliminary injunction forbidding the state of Colorado from enforcing several key provisions of HB 1326. Judge Brimmer's order, in particular, found that the provisions of HB 1326 that ban compensating petition circulators on a pay-per-signature were likely to be unconstitutional and could not be enforced pending a full ruling by the court.[9]


Denver Post columnist Vincent Carroll wrote in May 2010:

"Colorado lawmakers last year were supposedly so concerned about the integrity of the petition process that they passed a 24-page bill clamping down on the way signatures are gathered. But they weren't concerned enough to apply the new law to themselves.
If mere citizens wish to petition a measure onto the ballot, they can no longer pay circulators by the signature. They must pay mostly by the hour, with no more than 20 percent of earnings related to the number of signatures collected. And they must document the pay and hours of the circulators, among other new requirements, to a degree that practically requires a bookkeeper.
If political candidates wish to petition their way onto the ballot, on the other hand, they're free to pay circulators however they like."[10]


Mason Tvert of SAFER, a pro-marijuana-rights organization, says that the impact of HB 1326 is that the cost of qualifying a measure for the ballot has increased. Tvert said:

"The cost of qualifying a measure for the ballot has increased dramatically as a result. I have been quoted about $3.50 per signature for this year, as compared to $1.50 last year."[10]

See also


  1. Durango Herald, "Law looks to end campaign fraud", May 16, 2009
  2. Citizens in Charge, "Federal Judge Says Colorado Can’t Restrict How Campaigns Pay Workers", June 14, 2010
  3. "Copy of HB 1326"
  4. Speaker Carroll aims to end ballot fraud, March 24, 2009
  5. Face the State, "Ballot initiative promoters can lose even when they win", May 27, 2010
  6. Text of HB 1326
  7. Uncertainty clouds Colorado's 2010 signature deadline
  8. The Denver Post "Think-tank chief challenges Colorado's petition-gathering rules", May 14, 2010
  9. Text of Judge Brimmer's June 11 decision in Independence Institute v. Colorado Secretary of State
  10. 10.0 10.1 Denver Post, "Heaping burdens on petitions", May 19, 2010