Ray Beck: Amendment 71 keeps state constitution standards high
Amendment 71 is the only initiated constitutional amendment that deserves a “yes” vote this election.
Our state constitution has been used by large special interest groups as a place to “test” changes, good or bad, as it is one of the easiest constitutions in the United States to amend under the current rules. These special interests advance their ideas in the heavily populated metro areas of the state without consideration for or inclusion of the desires of greater Colorado communities like Craig and Moffat County. Populations outside the metro area often have no say in whether an amendment to the constitution should be placed on a ballot or not. Amendment 71 seeks to correct that situation.
Constitutional amendments are permanent changes to Colorado’s foundational governing document; they are being proposed and advanced to the ballot without our input. It is as though our communities are not even part of Colorado and that is wrong.
Amendment 71 changes the way amendments to the state constitution are placed on the ballot. It requires that petition signatures be gathered from each of the 35 state senate districts — not just from Denver and Boulder. This provision can help to ensure that proposed constitutional changes have widespread support among Coloradans, not just those in the most populated areas of the state.
Amendment 71 also raises the bar in terms of how much electoral support is needed for them to pass. By requiring a 55 percent vote to pass, rather than a simple majority, this measure helps to demonstrate a true majority of support for a constitutional measure across the state. Remember, it takes a supermajority to amend the Constitution of the United States. If something is important enough to be made a part of the state’s bedrock document, it should require more than a simple majority of the state’s citizens for passage.
Make no mistake, this is not diluting the will of the people, or even disposing of the initiative process —the same process currently in place will remain for statutory citizen’s initiatives. What 71 will do however is make amending the constitution harder than changing a statutory law, as it should be.
The constitution was never meant to be a place for urban special interests to impose their schemes on the rest of us, but that is sadly what it has become. Amendment 71 will correct this by giving a voice to all citizens of Colorado, and ensure that constitutional amendments have broad support. Let’s support our Colorado Constitution and “Raise the Bar”
Craig Mayor Ray BeckCraig Mayor Ray BeckCraig Mayor Ray Beck
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