Maybe I’m jumping the gun on figuring out these November 2008 Colorado ballot initiatives, but I love amendments and initiatives. It almost feels like a taste of what democracy must feel like.
I found the full texts of the ballot initiatives at the state’s site, but some of them are confusing as hell. When an issue boils down to some kind of republican/democrat bickering, it can be hard to tell. Then I found this kind-of-sort-of “progressive” site called coloradoballot.net that helped me out a lot. It’s not that I agreed with them (in fact, I may have ended up about 50/50), but they did a good job, as far as I can tell, of putting the measures into language and state politics contexts that make sense to me. Their conclusions are definitely pro-business and capitalistic, though.
One big advantage of starting this process early is that I have plenty of time to get feedback from people and adjust my decisions (and endorsements) as need be. So please, help me research these ballot measures. I am not completely informed, but I plan on being so by November 4. Leave a comment if you have any additional information or arguments on any of these issues. I am not set in stone about my answers yet.
Anything in the 40s -NO
These are what I am going to call the conservative douche bag core of initiatives. Here you have:
46: End affirmative action by calling for “equality”. You can tell a conservative douche bag wrote this because they use “sex” instead of “gender” or “gender identity”.
47: End union dues. As much as union dues kind of suck, you can’t make union dues optional. Why would anyone pay them if they didn’t have to? Maybe some union workers believe they have a duty to the whole, but the rest are struggling to buy $6 cauliflower. Enforced dues are important if we do not want to be reminded what happens to workers without a union.
48: Outlaw abortion. Or, even better, make anyone who gets an abortion (and the doctor) murderers. Or better yet, outlaw some forms of birth control in which eggs may be fertilized before being expelled from the body. I don’t really need to explain this one.
49: Do something that makes unions mad. I don’t really get this one yet. I could use some help. It sounds kind of bad, but I don’t really know. Something about reinstating something Bill Owens instated in 2001 that Ritter overturned in 2007. If Owens was for it, it probably sucks, right? Anyone else know anything about this one?
50 – NO
Increase the hours of operation for casinos, allow roulette and craps and increase the maximum allowed bet. Yeah, exactly what we need when the people are about to enter hard economic times. How about, we’ll increase all of this when all casino profits go to feeding and housing people in Colorado. I’d vote yes on that. Though to be fair, the line bet in craps is supposed to be one of the most fair bets in the whole casino, so I hear.
51 – YES
Increase taxes to help developmentally disabled. Here is where coloradoballot.net and I part ways. I don’t really care how developmentally disabled people and organizations get money. If it’s a constitutional amendment (SEE EDIT BELOW), then so be it. They need money. I have a very good friend from Colorado who is facing the harsh realities of low funding for developmentally disabled Coloradans, and she is very excited about this issue. I trust her, and I trust the way the amendment is worded. I am open to suggestion if anyone knows something I don’t. But the fear of other special interest groups trying to get their own amendments on the ballot to increase their funding is not something I fear. I would embrace that. The people could decide what we should pay for. Imagine that!
EDIT: It would appear that Amendment 51 is an amendment to the Colorado Revised Statutes, not a constitutional amendment. So not everything that says “amendment” is a constitutional amendment. How interesting/confusing … So basically, I don’t know what the drawback to this amendment is. So, VOTE YES! Thanks for the help, yeson51!.
Increase some mineral and mineral fuel extraction tax to concentrate funds on the I-70 corridor. Well, I don’t really care about I-70, and it seems stupid to tax environment destroyers and then put that money into a project that will make it easier for others to also destroy the environment. Put the money towards public transit and we might have a YES vote. Again, though, I am open to new information and arguments here.
Criminalize actions (or inactions) by executives for law broken by their companies. Hell yes I am voting for this. It is so freaking impossible to get retribution for the wrongdoings of these executives. If you reap the benefits of exploitation, then you will take the punishment when you are found out for it. I don’t care if you were evil and did it on purpose or if you were stupid and had no idea your company was doing it. You are still a criminal. Some are worried this will keep businesses from coming here. Well, if they are coming here to exploit us, then I am very happy to send them somewhere else. This is a statutory amendment, not a constitutional amendment.
54 – YES
Banning contractor companies who receive non-competitive bids from the government from contributing to campaigns, and banning companies who contribute to a ballot issue from receiving contracts related to that issue. I need some help here. While this sounds really good, coloradoballot.net is convinced that this is just a way to keep unions from contributing to Democrats. If so, I don’t really want to help in dumb ass party bickering. So I need some more information on this one, I think.
55 – YES
Requires private employers to have “just cause” to fire a full-time employee. Sounds good to me. What just cause means can be argued out in court later. But too many people get fired for no other reason than employer greed. Want the company to make a little more money? Cut your executives’ salaries, don’t fire the woman with two children at home. coloradoballot.net thinks this will be devastating to businesses because they won’t be able to fire people. But union businesses have these “just cause” clauses and they seem fine. But I am open to new information and arguments, of course.
Requires employers (20 or more employees) to offer health insurance to employees. Honestly, I am a little torn on this one. I think yes because people just need freaking health insurance and I don’t care how they get it. But I am not sure this is a burden the employer needs to take on. After all, will this just keep them from hiring people or giving people raises? I’m not sure it would “decimate entire sectors of the economy here in Colorado“, but it doesn’t seem like a measure that is really going to end up putting more money in employee pockets, either. Does anyone have any ideas on this one?
Companies liable for employee injuries. Awesome. Too many companies get away with way too much. Worker’s Comp. just is not enough many times, especially if the injury is long-lasting or psychological. The courts will define “injury” later. For now, if a company does not want this to affect them, they better not let their employees work in a toxic, dangerous environment. This is a statutory, not constitutional, amendment.
Take money from oil companies and use it to fund higher education. Uh, duh. This is a statutory, not constitutional, amendment.
59 – YES
Remove tax rebate in order to fund pre-K-12 education. This sounds good to me. It’s good, right? Are we OK with leaving future education funding increases up to the state legislature instead of guaranteeing they will grow with inflation?
L – YES
Lower the age requirement to serve in the Colorado General Assembly to 21. Definitely. Hey, maybe I’ll run next campaign …
M and N – YES
Remove obsolete provisions. Sure, why not? These are of little concern.
O – NO
Make it harder for citizens to put a constitutional initiative on the ballot, but easier to put a statutory initiative. I would be for this if I trusted our “elected” officials. But they can’t touch constitutional amendments (in theory), so in a nation where the people have so little power, being able to directly change our state constitution is incredibly important. And, hey, wake up. HAVING THIS MANY BALLOT INITIATIVES IS A GOOD THING!
Like I said earlier, this almost feels like a hint of democracy. Almost.
Please submit comments and I will make sure to keep this article updated as new information arrives. I have a feeling some YESes may turn to NOs…
To sum up:
46 – NO
47 – NO
48 – NO
49 – NO
50 – NO
51 – YES
52 – NO
53 – YES
54 – YES
55 – YES
56 – YES
57 – YES
58 – YES
59 – YES
L – YES
M – YES
N – YES
O – NO