The 2012 Colorado Ballot Amendments


Amendment V

Amendment W

Amendment X

Amendment Y & Z

Amendment A

Amendment 73

Amendment 74

Amendment 75

Proposition 109

Proposition 110 

Proposition 111

Proposition 112

An Independent Evaluation

I am a small business owner (software company) and I have tried to carefully and dispassionately evaluate these initiatives. I am not part of any group proposing or opposing any initiatives.

Letters, Numbers, & Propositions

The Amendments with a letter, such as Amendment V, are placed on the ballot by the legislature. This requires a vote of 2/3 or more of both houses of the legislature. This means each of the proposed letter amendments has strong bi-partisan support.

The Amendments with a number are proposed changes to the constitution placed there via signature gathering.

The proposals are also placed via signature gathering, but they are the equivilent of legislation passed by the legislature, with a higher standard required to revise them, not a constitutional amendment.

Amendment V

This amendment will lower the age limit to server in the legislature from 25 to 21. Keep in mind this only means they can run, they still have to win where you can make a decision based on the specific individual.

If you want citizens aged 21 to 24 to be able to run for office, vote yes.

If you want to continue to require legislators be age 25 or more, vote no.

Amendment W

Simplify the structure of the ballot where it asks if specific judges should be retained. The new format will take up less space and should be clear to most voters.

BTW - take pride that Colorado appoints judges using what most regards as the best approach. Appointed via a fair evaluation and the ballot is only to ask about retention.

If you prefer the new layout for the ballot, vote yes.

If you prefer the existing layout for the ballot, vote no.

Amendment X

I try to look at both sides of these amendments, but there truly is no reason to vote against this. It just puts the definition of hemp in the hands of the state so they can stay consistent with the federal government and the other 49 states.

Vote yes.

ps - If you're worried about marijuana, hemp cannot get you high. It's basically just a tougher alternative to cotton.

Amendment Y & Z

These are the most political amendment on the ballot. And so I find it astounding that they passed unanimously.  Kudos to the legislature for this.

Y is a gigantic change in how redistricting is handled for our federal congressional districts.

Z is a major change in how redistricting is handled for the state House & Senate, match the process set in Y.

Read here to learn about these amendments, they require more than a paragraph to understand and their impact decides who will be representing us in Denver and in Washington.

Amendment A

Once again, I try to look at both sides of these amendments but this one is another obvious yes.

Amendment 73

Our school funding is low and a well educated workforce is key to our future. On the flip side, there's virtually no corelation between increased spending and better educational outcomes.

The future of the state requires a better educated workforce, and the taxes this increases are well targeted (it hits individuals making over 150K, etc.).

If you want the citizens of Colorado to have better paying more interesting jobs, and you think the additional money will improve our educational outcomes, vote yes.

If you don't think the increased funding will improve educational outcomes, vote no.

Amendment 74

This amendment sounds innocuous, but has giant widespread ramifications. The concept is simple, if the government takes an action that reduces the value of your land, you get reimbursed for that difference.

The problem with this is it leads to lawsuits, lots and lots of lawsuits with arguments about the true impact of a change. The end result is the state and local government stop making changes - which is why the oil & gas industry placed this on the ballot.

So think of this not as a way to have people get reimbursed due to laws or regulations, look at this as a way to stop the government from passing laws or regulations that arguably impact the value of your property.

If you want the government to drastically reduce the laws and regulations they pass that arguably have any impact on property value, vote yes.

If you want to leave things as they are, vote no.

Amendment 75

This tries to level the playing field a little when a candidate that does not have a spare couple of million dollars runs against a candidate that does have lots of money to spend.

If a candidate puts over 1 million dollars of their own money into their campaign, it increases the limits their opponents have on their fundraising.

To give candidates facing a moneybags candidate the ability to raise more money, vote yes.

To retain the existing limits even for this case, vote no.

ps - I also wish money wasn't so central to running for office, but unfortunately it is.

Proposition 109

This authorizes bonds, but no additional taxes, for a ton of specified highway projects, spread all over the state.

It will have the impact of using general fund monies to pay off the bonds. And that money almost certainly would come out of Higher Education. So the end result will be larger debt for Colorado students going to College here in Colorado.

If you think we need to fix our roads at the expense of increased student debt, vote yes.

If you think we should fund this by means other than college student debt, vote no.

Proposition 110

This is sort-of the inverse of Prop 109. It increases the sales and use taxes a bit and authorizes bonds against that money, but is for general transportation projects with no specific items.

The big issue on this is it is funded on sales tax, which comes close to maxing out what the people will accept in sales tax.

If you want to pay more in sales tax to have better roads, vote yes.

If you think our roads are good enough, vote no.

Proposition 111

This puts further limits on the interest charges that Payday lenders can charge people. And even with these further limits, payday loans will continue to trap many people in a cycle of debt.

Every time new legislation is proposed to address this problem the payday lenders all cry wolf and say it will drive them out of businesss. And yet, time after time, they're still here.

If you think payday loans should be limited to 36%/year, vote yes.

If you think the payday lenders need their present profit margins, vote no.

Proposition 112

It seems to be a rule that ever election we have one initiative that provides major benefit to the Oil & Gas companies (Amendment 74 this year) and one that they fight with everything they have (prop 112 this year).

This significantly increases the setback of drilling from homes, schools, businesses, etc. And hey, I'm all in favor of their not being able to drill next door to me.

But the new setbacks will make it close to impossible to drill anywhere with a moderate level of building density.

If you want to pretty much stop drilling exceot for very sparse rural areas, vote yes.

If you want drilling to continue in areas with a fair amount of housing, vote no.


Reference Sites

These sites provide more information on the initiatives. They do not provide a means of discussion.

Colorado Legislature Ballot Analysis - The Blue Book.

Colorado Secretary of State - Elections Center.

Ballotpedia - Almanac of ballot initiatives.


Blogs are your best resource for a full & open discussion of these initiatives. You can register on these and both ask questions and discuss these issues.

ColoradoPols - Liberal

Colorado Peak Politics - Conservative

Previous Elections

News Media

The Denver Post

FOX 31