Colorado Lawmaker Feels It Should Be Harder To Change The Constitution
DENVER (CBS4) – The November ballot could be very crowded with more than 90 initiatives being submitted so far and many of them involve changes to the state constitution.
The proposals include amendments on marijuana, personhood, guns, gambling, same sex marriage and much more.
Colorado is the only state in the country where it’s as easy for voters to change the constitution as it is to change the law.
Coloradoans have proposed all kinds of changes to the state constitution, amending it 53 times in the last 30 years alone. Compare that to the Unites States Constitution, which has only been amended 27 times in more than 200 years.
Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver, says the Colorado constitution has become colossal and inconsistent.
“I know that the people know that their constitution is a sacred document and I know they get frustrated seeing a cluttered ballot. I’m not sure they understand the way it all happens,” said Court.
Court feels it’s too easy to change the constitution in Colorado. It takes 80,000 signatures to get an amendment on the ballot and 51 percent to pass it. Court says that means much of Colorado doesn’t get a say.
“To change the Colorado constitution you can collect all signatures you need right here in the metro area. You don’t have to talk to rural Colorado even if it’s an issue that impacts rural Colorado,” said Court.
Many issues do affect rural Colorado with cruelty to livestock and dairy cattle protection among proposed amendments this year. That is why Court has an amendment of her own that would double the number of signatures needed to get on the ballot and require they be gathered from all over the state.
“I think maybe the founders had a really good idea that a constitution is a foundational document and shouldn’t be cluttered up with extraneous things that belong in statute,” said Court.
In addition to signatures, the other way to get an amendment on the ballot is for the Legislature to refer it.
Court will introduce a resolution on Monday to refer her amendment and she needs 2/3rds of both chambers to do so.