Colorado voters may see proposals on God, guns, taxes
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
DENVER – An ambitious brother-and-sister tandem from Colorado Springs wants to change the state constitution to make Colorado dramatically more conservative.
Samuel Babcock and Elise Van Grinsven are sponsors of multiple proposed ballot measures that cover a range of right-wing issues, from guns to taxes.
Next up for the political neophytes is working to gather about 86,000 valid signatures for each proposal to get the questions on ballots this fall.
“This is a new process, so we’re not exactly sure about all that,” Van Grinsven acknowledged.
The siblings may be new to politics, but the ideas they’re promoting aren’t.
One proposed ballot initiative aims to eliminate real property taxes. Another would allow Colorado residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit. They are also proposing changes that would reorganize how Colorado conducts elections and organizes its state Senate.
The gun proposal has been debated but rejected for the last two years in Colorado’s divided Legislature.
And the plan to end population-based state Senate districts in favor of geographically based districts has been deemed illegal by the U.S. Supreme Court for the last 50 years.
But Babcock says he wants Colorado to set up a direct challenge to the landmark civil rights voting case.
“That has cut out the voice for rural areas,” Babcock said.
The property tax plan would require local governments that rely on such revenue to get voters to approve a different type of tax or cut spending. For areas where funding is required – such as public education – the state government would have to backfill the difference.
Their election proposal would end party primaries in favor of general elections to determine the top two candidates, regardless of party. If it were to become law, the two candidates on a November ballot could both be from the same party, and there would be no requirement to join a political party in order to participate in primary elections.
Van Grinsven, owner of a vinyl decor business, says family discussions on how to improve the country sparked the plans.
“The ideas just came up,” Van Grinsven said.
Those proposals were among a long list of ballot proposals approved by Colorado title board Wednesday.
Others included a proposed amendment sponsored by Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian activist group, to say the government can’t exclude expressions of religious belief from public places.
The title board also approved three measures aimed at dissuading activists from changing the state constitution by tinkering with the voter-initiative process.
Colorado has one of the nation’s most free-wheeling public initiative procedures, and already voters in Colorado this fall will consider one constitutional change, to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
Another marijuana plan is under petition, and the title board cleared a third one for signature-gathering Wednesday. All three are different versions of legalizing pot.
Also, abortion opponents are gathering signatures for a third attempt to ban abortions and stem-cell research.
The state title board does not debate a ballot measure’s merits, or even its legality. The board is simply charged with making sure a ballot measure is properly worded before its sponsors can gather petition signatures.
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