Lum: Struggling through the state questions

Su Lum

There are only nine state questions on the Nov. 8 ballot, and the little blue book, which explains them, is now the size of a New Yorker magazine. I am only going to deal with eight of them here because I’m still a mile away from understanding the implications of Amendment 69 regarding Colorado health care.

Amendment T, which speaks of slavery, is less sinister than it sounds. Presently the constitution reads: “Slavery prohibited. There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” Voters are being asked to expunge the final line, beginning “except as.”

I am voting “no” on this because it would undermine our successful community service and work programs.

Amendment U exempts government property worth $6,000 or less from state taxes. They say it costs more to collect than it pays. I think it’s an arbitrary figure, it will rob Peter to pay Paul and would set a bad precedent. Only about 7,000 pieces of property are involved — leave it alone.

Amendment 69 — statewide health care system. As I said, I’ve got a ways to go before I understand this one. Tune in next week, if then.

Amendment 70 — raise the minimum wage to $9.30 an hour with annual increases until it reaches $12 in 2020. Yes. It still won’t be livable and prices will soon overtake the increase, but it’s a much-needed start.

Amendment 71 would make it more difficult to get constitutional amendments on the ballot, by requiring that signatures be gathered from around the whole state, not just densely populated areas. I am definitely all for anything that keeps the crap off the ballots.

Amendment 72 — cigarette tax increase of $1.75 per pack. Can we not just let the smokers die in peace? I remember when they were two bits per pack and yes, I did quit. Tip: buy them online.

Proposition 106. Speaking of death, this proposal would allow terminal patients access to peaceful prescription pills if circumstances are substantiated by two doctors. It is about time that human beings were allowed the same sort of mercy we give to our animals.

Proposition 107. This is a yes/no vote for me, my least favorite kind. First, it asks voters to get rid of the restrictive, unwieldy, wildly outdated caucus system and replace it with primary elections, which we should have done years ago. Yes and yes again. But it also asks us to allow independent or unaffiliated voters to weigh in on either the Republican or Democratic side.

Who knows where the GOP will be after the dust settles in November, but as of now I am opposed to voters switching sandboxes. If we are a two-party system, we should, at least nominally, have to pick a party. So I would say “no” on this part but would rather put the objection aside and vote “yes” because getting the primary is the most important.

Proposition 108. This is similar to 107. It allows independents to vote but also allows the parties to choose whether they want primary or caucus elections. A big fat “no” for this worst of all worlds.

Onward to Colorado health care.

Su Lum is a longtime local whose column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Send corrections or arguments to