Last week several of the state’s public interest groups, including The Bell Policy Center, The Colorado Fiscal Institute, New Era Colorado, Conservation Colorado, and ProgressNow Colorado came out in opposition of Amendment 71.
If passed, the measure billed as Raise the Bar would increase requirements for ballot proposals, making it more difficult to amend Colorado’s constitution.
The initiative would require a broader geographic distribution of signatures to place a measure on the ballot. In addition, an initiative would have to receive a 55 percent vote to pass, rather than the simple majority currently required.
Proponents of Raise the Bar say the initiative process is too easy, and that the state’s constitution is cluttered as a result.
For many Coloradans, Amendment 71 raises the bar too high.
Jessica Goad of Conservation Colorado said in a press release that Amendment 71 would create an unfair advantage for corporations and industries – like oil and gas – to get anti-environment measures on the ballot. “It would mean that grassroots efforts to make Colorado a better place to live would have a harder time raising the funding.”
New Era Colorado’s Lizzy Stephan is also concerned that Amendment 71 would make the process more expensive. She said the measure would impede democracy by taking “the citizen initiative process away from Coloradans while keeping the door open for the wealthiest industries in the state.”
Ian Silverii of ProgressNow Colorado agrees that it would make it harder for ordinary Coloradans to engage in the initiative process, and while “the goal may be worthy,” Amendment 71 is “simply overkill.”
NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado also expressed its opposition to Raise the Bar on the grounds that it would make it more difficult to repeal the ban on state funding for abortions.