I got mailed a blue book with all of the Constitutional Amendments for the Colorado Ballot and I sat down with it yesterday and wrote up a cheatsheet, of sorts, for it so I can go in, vote, and get out with as little fuss as possible.
I have since found out from here that a number of these have been removed from the ballot (or, left on, but they’ve been withdrawn so the votes won’t be counted, or something). So it’s not 100% up to date… but you’ll get the general idea.The quick and dirty rule of thumb when it comes to any ballot initiative is to just vote no.
If they don’t change anything, they won’t screw it up.
But, every now and again, you get a mailing with a police officer on the front that says “if they pass 47, 49, and 54, it will handcuff police officers” and you think “Wow. The Libertarians are really pushing those ballot initiatives, huh?” and then, upon closer reading, you realize that it’s actually the police who sent that flyer out and it is actually the police who are fighting against 47, 49, and 54. Which, of course, doesn’t make one any less likely to say “huh, I should totally vote for those.”
Let’s break them all down.
Amendment 46 is about discrimination and preferential treatment. Specifically, it comes out and says “Let’s end race- and gender-based discrimination!” Which, of course, has come to mean “Let’s end Affirmative Action!”I see arguments for and against… but this is an amendment. If you don’t change anything, you can’t screw it up. Vote no.
Amendment 47 is mentioned in the flyer that got sent to the house. It basically says that Unions will, henceforth, be opt-in as opposed to “if you want a job, you’ll be in the union”. My grandfather is whispering that I should vote no on this. The freedom of association part of my brain says that that entails not being in a union if you don’t want to be in one. Plus that flyer was pretty persuasive…
Amendment 48 is the one that my beloved bride said that she wants me to vote “no” on. She gets one major issue per ballot and 48 is the one that she said she wanted me to shoot down. It’s the “legal personhood begins at conception one”. Friggin’ abortion. Poisons Friggin’ everything. Of course, neither side of the debate is willing to argue for a “Right To Privacy” because, hey, there’s so much that people are doing wrong out there and we should have legal recourse to tell them how to live their lives and a “Right” to “Privacy” will just mean that people will be able to tell the busybodies to take a walk. AND WE CAN’T HAVE THAT. Friggin’ abortion. Friggin’ busybodies.
Amendment 49 turns Union Dues from opt-out to opt-in. I’m a big fan of opting in rather than opting out. Plus it was mentioned on that flyer!
Amendment 50 is a gambling one to amend a previous gambling one. It allows casinos to open extended hours and approve more games, etc. Why is this a Constitutional issue? Oh, because the previous gambling issue was a Constitutional one and this is amending that one. Jeez. Why not just allow folks to, you know, do stuff? I disapprove of the restrictions that are being lessened in the first place, but I like the lessening. I’ll think about it.
Amendment 51 is the one that increases taxes (BOO!!!) in order to provide more services to the Developmentally Disabled (Man, can you believe the jerk who booed Amendment 51? How selfish do you have to be to not want taxes increased in order to help The Developmentally Disabled Children?). Why is this in the Constitution and not the legislature? It’s not like folks will hold this sort of thing against the legislators…
Amendment 52 makes it so that taxes that are currently collected through mining and whatnot have to be spent on highways. Seriously, we mean it this time. So we’d have a Constitutional Amendment to overcome our lawmakers who, for some reason, cannot properly fund highways? Why don’t we just get better lawmakers? Jeez! Why is this in the Constitution?
Amendment 53. Criminal liability for executives. Hrm. Sounds great in theory, more likely to have Headquarters in Colorado becoming Headquarters in, say, Wyoming. Why does there need to be an amendment to enforce laws that have been broken? What the heck? If you don’t change it, you won’t screw it up. Why is this in the Constitution?
Amendment 54 is about “Campaign Contributions From Certain Government Contractors”. I’m a big fan of freedom of speech (which, I’d wager, covers giving folks money) but it’s about limiting Government Contractors… And, it was mentioned in that flyer. My goodness, why would THIS handcuff police? Hrm. I’ll have to think about this one. It basically says that folks who win a government contract can’t turn around and give money back to the lawmakers who awarded it to them. Hrm. I think I like this one too. Why did the police/firefighters hitch their wagon to this one?
Amendment 55 will make Colorado stop being a “Right To Work” state. The fact that it’s a Right To Work state allows corporations to hire more people, more often. If they can’t fire them, they won’t hire them in the first place. This will limit growth more than it will help workers. Then again… I have a job. Everybody wants to pull up the ladder after them… nah. Unintended consequences stink. Why is this in the Constitution?
Amendment 56 is the employer-provided health insurance thing. Sigh. I suppose it would do a good job of making sure that small business owners with fewer than 20 employees stay small business owners with fewer than 20 employees. But that small business with 21 employees? If the owner had to pick between firing two folks and providing 21 with insurance? Which do you think he’d pick? It’s the Unemployment Creation Amendment. Why is this in the Constitution?
Amendment 57 additional remedies for injured employees. Because Workman’s Comp just isn’t enough. And because this needs to be in the Constitution and not a law.
Amendment 58 will raise taxes on mining corporations. Hrm. Tempting because it is a captive audience and because if gas hits $4/gal again they’ll really start looking at shale… then again, in a downturn, we want MORE companies coming into the state, not fewer. And why is this in the Constitution rather than the legislature??? If you want to raise taxes, then RAISE TAXES. Why is this in the Constitution?
Amendment 59. Education funding. Let’s say it again. Why is this in the Constitution?
See? This is where pretty much everything but 48 and 54 belongs.
Referendum L will lower the age requirement for serving in the legislature from 25 to 21. Get off my lawn. (How in the heck did this get enough signatures?)
Referendum M something something amending the Constitution removing language about delaying taxes for orchards… Ugh. See? When you put dumb crap in the Constitution, you eventually have to have a Referendum to say “remember when we did that dumb crap? Let’s amend it.”
Referendum N will remove provisions related to the regulation of alcohol beverage from two sections of the Constitution. SHAZAM!!! YOU JUST SAID THE MAGIC WORD!!! Yeah, I’ll vote yes on this one.
Referendum O is a referendum to pull the ladder up now that everyone we want up here up here. It makes it easier to put a statutory initiative on the ballot and tougher to put a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot. YES. THIS WAS MEANT FOR ME! Except, of course, for the part in the back of my brain that makes me wonder if it’s not the gay marriage folks who said “okay, we amended the Constitution to get rid of gay marriage… let’s make it tougher for future folks to change it back.” Brushing that aside, I very much like the idea of making it easier to pass a law (you can always get rid of a law) and making it tougher to Amend the Constitution. Maybe we won’t have so much dumb crap on 2012’s ballot (maybe it’ll be in the laws instead!).
And there you have it.
My cheat sheet.