The last of the ballot measures awaiting review – a campaign finance initiative – cleared the Secretary of State’s office on Tuesday, making it a baker’s dozen of questions voters will be asked to decide in November.
The last to qualify is a constitutional measure on campaign finance, Initiative 173, backed by former state Rep. BJ Nikkel of Loveland and former state Sen. Greg Brophy of Wray.
Backers turned in a record 212,332 signatures, with 98,492 required to make the ballot. Of those more than 212,000 signatures, 136,328 were deemed valid.
Initiative 173 is known as “Stop Buying Our Elections.” Its funders are unknown.
If adopted by voters, the measure would change certain campaign finance limits for statewide candidates (governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer and those running for the Colorado General Assembly).
Currently, the state limit on donations is $400 per election cycle for the state House and Senate and $1,150 for the other statewide offices. The measure would amend campaign finance limits established in Amendment 27, approved by voters in 2002.
According to Brophy and Nikkel, when a person puts a million dollars or more into a campaign, the campaign contribution limits for everyone else in the same race “go up five times, so you can raise enough money to compete with the millionaire or billionaire trying to buy the election.” The measure targets candidates who can put millions of dollars into their races, like Democratic gubernatorial candidate and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder, his Republican opponent, state Treasurer Walker Stapleton; and Republican businessman Victor Mitchell of Colorado Springs. Polis has so far put $12.875 million into his campaign; Mitchell put just under $5 million into his failed run for the Republican nomination for governor. Stapleton has given just over $1 million in cash and in-kind contributions for his campaign.
According to Brophy, the amendment would also apply to some independent expenditure committees such as Frontier Fairness, which backed former Democratic state Sen. Michael Johnston for governor and took in $2 million in contributions from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Brophy said that a committee that backs a specific candidate and spends $1 million or more in support of that candidate would also be covered under Initiative 173.
Of the other dozen ballot measures now set for November, four are statutory, two seek changes to the state constitution and six have been referred by the General Assembly.
Statutory:A setback measure for oil and gas would mandate that new oil and gas development, including fracking, be a minimum distance of 2,500 feet from occupied buildings and other areas designated as “vulnerable.”A measure on payday loans would cap the charges on payday loans to a yearly rate of 36 percent and would eliminate all other finance charges and fees associated with payday lending.A transportation measure that would increase sales tax, andA transportation measure to authorize bonds, paid for with existing state revenues.Constitutional:An amendment that requires property owners be compensated for any reduction in property value caused by government laws or regulations.Another amendment boosts income taxes to raise money for education.The six measures referred by the General Assembly:
Amendment A: prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude
Amendment V: lowering the age requirement for legislators from 25 to 21 years old,
Amendment W: election ballot format for judicial retention elections,
Amendment X: change the definition of industrial hemp from constitutional to statutory,
Amendment Y: congressional redistricting,
Amendment Z: legislative reapportionment and