What's On The Ballot?
The elections are less than a month away and while most of us are looking forward to it simply being over with, there are some very important state and local proposals to learn about. Here are the amendments, propositions and ballot questions you can expect to see in Denver.
Amendments are constitutional and affect the entire state.
Amendment T: T proposes a change to the Constitutional Amendment which ended slavery but made an exception for those incarcerated. In other words, it is still legal to enslave those in prison and this amendment would stop all enslavement even if a person is incarcerated. This does not release prisoners but states they cannot be used for labor or other purposes unfairly.
Amendment U: This proposes a property tax exemption for a private interest in government owned real property that is valued at $6000 or less.
Amendment 69: Amendment 69 is also called Colorado Care and proposes what is essentially Medicare for all in Colorado. If passed it would mean Colorado is exempt from the Affordable Care Act. It would go into effect in early 2019.
Supporters argue it is more affordable and will cover more people; it would also eliminate co-pays and deductibles. Learn more here.
Those who oppose the amendment argue it is too expensive and that the framework is much too vague. Learn more here.
Amendment 70: Amendment 70 proposes an increase in the minimum wage to $9.30 and then by $.90 per year until it reaches $12 per hour. The current minimum wage is $8.31 per hour. Here is a link to a living wage calculator for Colorado counties.
Amendment 71: 71 proposes to make the Colorado Constitution more difficult to amend. Some argue this is a backlash to the amendment that legalized marijuana and makes things less democratic; others argue that the Colorado Constitution is too easy to amend and the proposals don’t always truly reflect what the community wants.
Amendment 72: Amendment 72 seeks to increase the tobacco tax to $1.75 per pack and other increases on tobacco products for an additional $315 million per year. Some of the money collected would be put aside for smoking prevention and cessation programs as well as other tobacco and health related education.
Propositions are statutory; they make changes to the laws across the state.
Proposition 106: This proposition is also known as the right to die law. It states that a mentally competent person who faces a terminal illness that would end their life in 6 months or less may get a prescription from a willing doctor (after the illness and prognosis is confirmed by at least two doctors) that would end their life sooner.
Proponents of the measure argue that it is common sense and should be well within the rights of a dying individual to make this decision concerning their own health. However opponents are concerned that there are not enough safeguards: no mental health tests administered to prove competence, and of course, doctors can make mistakes too. There are also concerns that this may adversely affect the rights of the disabled.
Proposition 107: This seeks to establish primaries in our presidential election. The primaries would be held in March of presidential election years and would be open to unaffiliated voters and not restricted to parties as the caucuses currently are. This would replace the existing caucus system.
Proposition 108: This is similar to Prop 107 and asks if unaffiliated voters can participate in choosing candidates for parties, even if they do not belong to that party. This applies to non-presidential primaries.
Ballot questions are specific to the city and county of Denver. If you live outside the county, this section will be different on your ballot.
Referred Question 2A: This is a question is about keeping a .03% tax, which was approved in 2014, until 2026 and continuing to use the proceeds to fund the Denver Preschool Program.
Referred Question 2B: Denver has an independent monitor and a citizen oversight board. This ballot question seeks to formalize its powers and ability to monitor investigations by uniformed personnel in the Denver Department of Safety, which includes the police.
Initiated Ordinance 300: This is the public marijuana smoking initiative. It would allow a business, with neighborhood association support, to create a designated consumption area. As a pilot program it would be subject to further scrutiny and would have to respect the current laws. This means users must be over 21 and the business would have to be located at least 1000 feet from schools.
Ballot Issue 3A: This proposes an increase in the tax collected for public schools. The increase would be by $56.6 million in 2017 and subsequent years.
Ballot Issue 3B: This asks if the debt that the public schools carry can be increased to $572 million with a maximum repayment of $1,100 million.
Ballot Issue 4B: This issue asks to extend the .1% sale tax used to fund arts and science facilities to 2030. They are currently set to expire in 2018. This does not increase or decrease the tax, it just designates where it would continue to go.
Whatever side you take on these matters, stay informed, and take comfort in knowing we’re almost done.