Voting in Colorado

 Posted by on 31 October 2006 at 2:03 pm  Uncategorized
Oct 312006

Since ’tis the season for election blogging, I’ve decided to report my own votes on the various amendments and referenda on the Colorado ballot. Feel free to post your own votes (and reasons) for your own state in the comments, if you like.

  • Amendment 38 – Petitions
    Amendment 38 – An amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning initiative and referendum petitions, and, in connection therewith, changing petition rights and procedures; allowing petitions to be submitted at all levels of Colorado government; limiting initiative ballot titles to 75 words; changing single-subject requirements and procedures; limiting the annual number of new laws that governments may exclude from possible referendum petitions; establishing standards for review of filed petitions; specifying that petitions may be voted on at any November election; limiting the use of government resources to discuss a petition; requiring voter approval for future petition laws and rules and for changes to certain voter-approved petitions; and authorizing measures to enforce the amendment.

    My vote: No. I like representative government. I want less direct democracy, not more.

  • Amendment 39 – School District Expenditures for Education
    Amendment 39 – An amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning a requirement that in each state fiscal year a school district spend at least 65% of its operational expenditures on classroom instruction, with limited exceptions.

    My vote: No. For all the reasons Brad Thompson articulated in his recent FROST talk, I don’t want to reform the public schools, I want to abolish them. Plus, such a concrete law shouldn’t be part of the Colorado Constitution. (Colorado has lots of bizarre crap in its Constitution, so this kind of proposal for an amendment isn’t unusual.)

  • Amendment 40 – Term Limits on Judges
    Amendment 40 – An amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning term limits for appellate court judges, and, in connection therewith, reducing the terms of office for justices of the supreme court and judges of the court of appeals to four years, requiring appellate judges serving as of January 1, 2007, to stand for retention at the next general election, if eligible for another term, prohibiting an appellate judge from serving more than three terms, specifying that a provisional term constitutes a full term, and making any appellate judge who has served ten or more years at one court level ineligible for another term at that level.

    My vote: No! This law would be a disaster: it would allow Colorado’s governor to appoint a majority of justices to the Supreme Court and a large number of justices to the Appellate Court in 2009 — and every ten years thereafter. (!!) Those are powers I don’t wish to give to any government official, ever.

  • Amendment 41 – Standards of Conduct in Government
    Amendment 41 – An amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning standards of conduct by persons who are professionally involved with governmental activities, and, in connection therewith, prohibiting a public officer, member of the general assembly, local government official, or government employee from soliciting or accepting certain monetary or in-kind gifts; prohibiting a professional lobbyist from giving anything of value to a public officer, member of the general assembly, local government official, government employee, or such person’s immediate family member; prohibiting a statewide elected officeholder or member of the general assembly from personally representing another person or entity for compensation before any other such officeholder or member for a period of two years following departure from office; establishing penalties for a breach of public trust or inducement of such a breach; creating a five-member independent ethics commission to hear ethics complaints, to assess penalties, and to issue advisory opinions on ethics issues; and specifying that the measure shall not apply to home rule jurisdictions that have adopted laws concerning matters covered by the measure.

    My vote: No. The problem of unseemly gifts by lobbyists is the inevitable consequence of the failure to limit government to its proper function. More regulations won’t make a bit of difference. (Plus, this law would prevent not just government employees, as well as their spouses and children, from accepting educational scholarship.)

  • Amendment 42 – Colorado Minimum Wage
    Amendment 42 – An amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning the state minimum wage, and, in connection therewith, increasing Colorado’s minimum wage to $6.85 per hour, adjusted annually for inflation, and providing that no more than $3.02 per hour in tip income may be used to offset the minimum wage of employees who regularly receive tips.

    My vote: No! Minimum wage interferes with the right of employers and employees to contract as they see fit, according to their own best interests.

  • Amendment 43 – Marriage
    Amendment 43 – An amendment to the Colorado constitution, concerning marriage, and, in connection therewith, specifying that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Colorado.

    My vote: No! This amendment is the darling of the Religious Right. (See my comments on the “domestic partnership” referendum below.) It must be defeated.

  • Amendment 44 – Marijuana Possession
    Amendment 44 – An amendment to section 18-18-406 (1) of the Colorado revised statutes making legal the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana for any person twenty-one years of age or older.

    My vote: Yes. Drugs should be legal. Although federal laws will still apply, at least this amendment sends a message. (Of course, it shouldn’t be a constitutional amendment, but oh well.)

  • Referendum E – Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans
    Referendum E – An amendment to Section 3.5 of Article X of the Constitution of the State of Colorado, concerning the extension of the existing property tax exemption for qualifying seniors to any United States military veteran who is one hundred percent permanently disabled due to a service-connected disability.

    My vote: No. Our Byzantinian tax codes should be radically simplified, not rendered more complex by yet another exception for some tiny minority group. Moreover, the proper care of disabled veterans is the job of the federal not the state government. Also, I question the motives for a tax break for only disabled veterans rather than for all veterans. It seems like altruistic sympathy for the disabled, not proper appreciation for military service.

  • Referendum F – Recall Deadlines
    Referendum F – An amendment to Section 2 of Article XXI of the Constitution of the State of Colorado, concerning elections to recall state elected officials, and in connection therewith, providing for the deadlines regarding recall petitions and hearings to be set in statute rather than in the constitution and stating that a recall election shall be held as part of a general election if a general election will be held between fifty and ninety days after the time for filing a protest has passed and all protests have been finally decided.

    Vote: Undecided. I don’t understand this measure well enough to vote in favor of it. My default will be to vote against it.

  • Referendum G – Obsolete Constitutional Provisions
    Referendum G – An Act submitting to the registered electors of the State of Colorado amendments to Articles XVII, XX, and XXIV of the Constitution of the State of Colorado, concerning the elimination of obsolete provisions of the state constitution.

    My vote: Yes. The Colorado Constitution already has enough crap in it.

  • Referendum H – Limiting a State Business Income Tax Deduction
    Referendum H – Shall state taxes be increased one hundred fifty thousand dollars annually by an amendment to the Colorado Revised Statutes that eliminates a state income tax benefit for a business that pays an unauthorized alien to perform labor services, and, in connection therewith, prohibits certain wages or remuneration paid to an unauthorized alien for labor services from being claimed as a deductible business expense for state income tax purposes if, at the time the business hired the unauthorized alien, the business knew of the unauthorized status of the alien unless specified exceptions apply and, to the extent such a payment was claimed as a deduction in determining the business’ federal income tax liability, requires an amount equal to the prohibited deduction to be added to the business’ federal taxable income for the purpose of determining state income tax liability?

    My vote: No. This measure is a stupid attempt to do something, even though totally pointless and ineffectual and irrelevant, about the problem of illegal immigration.

  • Referendum I – Domestic Partnerships
    Referendum I – Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Revised Statutes to authorize domestic partnerships, and, in connection therewith, enacting the “Colorado Domestic Partnership Benefits And Responsibilities Act” to extend to same-sex couples in a domestic partnership the benefits, protections, and responsibilities that are granted by Colorado law to spouses, providing the conditions under which a license for a domestic partnership may be issued and the criteria under which a domestic partnership may be dissolved, making provisions for implementation of the act, and providing that a domestic partnership is not a marriage, which consists of the union of one man and one woman?

    My vote: Yes. Voting “yes” on this referendum is perhaps the most clear way of rejecting Christian government in Colorado this election. I do worry that permitting gay marriage will usher in major subjectivism in marriage law, e.g. marry whomever you please, including two women, three men, and a goat. However, that’s not a problem with gay marriage (or domestic partnerships) per se, but rather with people’s failure to understand the proper grounds of marriage. Moreover, I regard that subjectivism as far less evil — and far less likely — than a return to a seriously religious conception of marriage. On that view, Paul and I aren’t really married since we’re not producing more children for God and community. For an example of that view, see this OpinionJournal op-ed by a Methodist Pastor. Oh, and don’t miss Augustine’s fantastically revolting views on marriage. Moreover, consider the main argument in our Colorado “Blue Book” against the referendum:

    Domestic partnerships diminish the significance of marriage for society by reducing marriage to a list of benefits and responsibilities. The benefits given to married couples are intended to support child rearing by one man and one woman. The state has an interest in restricting recognition and legal protection to these married couples to provide stability for the individuals, their families, and the broader community.

    In other words, marriage is a mysterious gift from God, not to be understood in words by man. Also, the sole justification for marriage is the demands of raising proper children in a stable family and community. People who choose not to procreate have no claim to the goods of marriage. In general, marriage is not two people committing to integrating their lives according to their own values. That’s obviously too selfish and too individualistic.

    Unfortunately, this “domestic partnership” measure will impose more government-mandated entitlements (e.g. health care and worker’s compensation) upon businesses, but that’s a problem with the government-mandated entitlements, not domestic partnership per se.

    So I’d strongly recommend voting in favor of this measure.

  • Referendum J – School District Spending Requirements
    Referendum J – Shall Colorado state law require that in each state fiscal year a school district spend at least sixty-five percent of its operational expenditures on services that directly affect student achievement?

    My vote: No. Again, I don’t want to reform the public schools, I want to abolish them.

  • Referendum K – Immigration Lawsuit Against Federal Government
    Referendum K – Shall the Colorado state attorney general initiate or join other states in a lawsuit against the United States attorney general to demand the enforcement of all existing federal immigration laws by the federal government?

    My vote: No. It’s absurd to force the state to sue the federal government by popular vote, particularly when such lawsuits have consistently failed in the past. Also, I want our inane system of immigration overhauled, not improved. Total reform is the only genuine solution to the problem of illegal immigration.

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