Our view: Tuesday: last chance to vote
November 1, 2008
After a week of deliberation, the Daily Press Editorial Board went over the ballot issues one by one. First, we decided which ballot issues we would form opinions on.
This board will not be addressing the following issues: Amendment 49, Amendment 54 and referendums L, M and N.
The last board previously endorsed Amendment 47, which still stands. On Wednesday, we gave our opinions on Referendum O and amendments 51, 52 and 58.
Today, we offer our opinion on amendments 46, 48, 50 and 59.
Although we recognize many people already have voted, we want to emphasize that our opinion as a board is just that – an opinion. We six members have studied the materials available to us on each issue, discussed them and taken a vote to form that opinion.
We also want to encourage anyone who has not yet voted to do so on Election Day this Tuesday.
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Amendment 46: No
The Craig Daily Press Editorial Board recommends a “no” vote on Amendment 46.
This ballot issue would prohibit the state from discriminating against or providing preferential treatment for anyone based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in public employment, education or contracting.
We think that this action has merit, but this ballot issue does not handle it in the right way – or go far enough.
Although the board was split on this decision, a majority thinks affirmative action programs no longer are effective and now are discriminating, instead of preventing unfair treatment. However, this is not the right way to eliminate these programs.
Also, we were disappointed that sexual orientation was not included in the issue.
This is an issue that should be dealt with in a statute, not embedded in the constitution, not in this form.
That’s why we say “no” to Amendment 46.
Amendment 48: No
The Craig Daily Press Editorial Board recommends a “no” vote on Amendment 48.
This amendment would define the term to include “any human being from the moment of fertilization” and grant persons inalienable rights, equality of justice and due process of the law.
We do not live in a world of black-and-white distinctions. Instead, there are a lot of gray areas, but this amendment tries to make things either-or, with no middle ground.
As a board, we are worried about unintended consequences, such as the practice of in vitro fertilization being declared unconstitutional because of the rights of frozen embryos that will not be implanted in a woman’s womb.
This amendment is sure to wind up being challenged in the courts, and it is an issue that we do not want judges defining for us.
We think this ballot issue is poorly worded and needs to be defeated.
Although originally split on this issue, a majority of the Craig Daily Press Editorial Board has chosen to recommend a “yes” vote on Amendment 50.
This amendment would allow voters in communities that already allow legalized gambling, such as Central City, Blackhawk and Cripple Creek, to vote on their own bet limits and hours of casino operation. If the communities voted in favor of higher bet limits, extra tax revenue from increased casino earnings would go to Colorado community colleges.
This amendment was a tricky one for us to decide on. We do not like how this is being sold as a funding source for community colleges, which currently are cash-strapped. Any revenue raised by this amendment would be dependent on too many factors to be reliable.
However, the value of allowing these communities to make their own decision on raising betting limits won a slim majority of us over. A constitutional amendment is the only way for that to happen.
Also, we like that this is a form of voluntary tax, rather than an outright tax increase, to help pay for community colleges.
For these reasons, our vote is “yes” on Amendment 50.
The Craig Daily Press Editorial Board recommends a “no” vote on Amendment 59.
This amendment would require that any state revenue, which would now be refunded to taxpayers because of spending limitations in the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, be put into a state education fund for preschool through 12th-grade education. It also repeals a requirement that the state increase public school funding each year by the rate of inflation (Amendment 23).
The fact that State Rep. Douglas Bruce, the author of TABOR, is against this amendment nearly gave us reason to vote for it. However, a majority of the board feels that this is an unnecessary amendment. Amendment 23 is very near its sunset provision. We do not want to set another funding requirement into the constitution that once again makes things harder for the Legislature to do its job.
We are voting “no” on Amendment 59.