Colorado Statesman: Initiative Process Under Siege in Colorado
In last week’s edition of The Colorado Statesman, and article from Ernest Luning talks about our transpartisan panel event last month in Denver:
An unlikely alliance of some of the state’s leading liberal and conservative voices are sounding the alarm that Colorado’s ballot initiative process is facing an unprecedented assault from established interests and lawmakers.
“In Colorado, there has been attack after attack after attack on the initiative process,” said Paul Jacob, president of the Citizens in Charge Foundation — a national group dedicated to preserving the rights of citizens to initiate ballot measures — on May 26 at Denver’s University Club. He spoke at a panel discussion sponsored by his organization and the Independence Institute, the Humane Society of the United States and Colorado Common Cause.
Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund went further. In recent years, he said, Colorado has witnessed “the most outrageous attacks on the initiative process that I have ever seen.”
The reason it matters, Fund said, is that “the initiative process is one of the single most dynamic ways of injecting change into a calcified system.” He continued: “It is much easier to attack the process and, indirectly, attack the people than it is to attack specific problems in the system — namely, the state legislators themselves, the bureaucracy, various special interests.” Ultimately, he added, “The attack on the initiative process is an attack on the right of the people.”
Across the ideological divide, Democratic strategist Joe Trippi made a similar plea to preserve the ability of regular folks to change the law.
“The same people who want to shut this thing down are the same people who run the Legislature,” he told The Colorado Statesman after the panel discussion. “A corporate giant who has a lot of money to have the best lobbyists working through the Legislature knows it can keep its tax loophole. It really does not want to wake up and find an initiative that takes that away. That’s what’s really going on here. The people who can control the process the way it works in the Legislature don’t like the uncertainty of what an initiative might be able to do to them.”
You can check out the rest of the article here.