More Voting in ColoradoOn to the Referendums:
Referendum E - extends the existing exemption from home owner occupied property taxes for 100% disabled American vets from any branch of the service. No brainer - YES!
Referendum F - changes some of the timing and rules around recall petitions and recall elections. After reading the referendum itself it is clear that it makes the amount of time to file protests, for the protests to be acknowledged and hearings chaired are now vague rather than explicit in the constitution more than anything else. These timings will now be set by statute rather than be explicit in the constitution. It allow recall elections to be had with a general election which seems fine, but why make the current explicit timings more vague? So I went to who are the sponsors and what was their reasoning. The state legislature is the sponsor which makes me curious. Many if not all referendums are technically started in the legislature but many are done with support or at the urging of some group. Not so here apparently. My general sense from reading several articles is three things. One, this will likely make it harder to get a recall election. Second, it puts more of the rules governing recalling elected officials in the hands of those very elected officials. Third, in the history of the state there has been only one state official (a DA) who was recalled. That said, there have been lots of local recall elections. KRDO has a great table showing the changes graphically but I am still a bit torn as I don't feel I understand the process well enough to judge the value or harm of this one so I am voting NO.
Referendum G - removes obsolete language from the constitution. It looks totally innocent to me and I couldn't find anybody, including the Libertarians, who are against it. I am voting YES on this one.
Referendum H - removes the ability of businesses to claim as expenses payments for labor services to anyone the business knew was an illegal alien at the time the payment was made. This will increase the income tax liability on Colorado businesses who knowingly use illegal aliens for labor. In theory, this sounds like a good plan. I am curious as to the real impact though. Will the state now send around tax agents asking workers for proof of authorization to work? Will this be used to target businesses who give money to a different party or a different cause than senior tax officials like? What will the cost or paperwork overhead be on a typical above board small business? It exempts payments to illegals that were hired prior to the referendum so my guess is that there is going to be some additional hassle or expense to hiring new people if you want to deduct their wages from your costs (DUH!). The referendum reads that businesses are to volunteer that they hired illegals but I am not buying it. I went looking for articles on this one. Go Google it. A lot of people have opinions on this one. The far right thinks it is a paper tiger and we should vote no. The far left thinks it is mean so we should vote no. The center seems split between people who think we should vote yes and accept it as a small move in the correct direction and those who think we should vote no because it just won't do anything useful. My brain hurts, I am voting YES on the theory that it looks to me like a slightly but not grossly flawed implementation of a small step in the correct direction and the business community does not seem to be up in arms about it.
Referendum I - establishes domestic partnerships in Colorado with all the rights and responsibilities of marriage. And when I say all, I mean ALL. I am not a big proponent of domestic partnerships as an idea but given the right construction I could vote for it. This isn't my idea of the right construction. While I think it would be a good idea for the state to make it easier for gay partners to get a document which guarantees things like hospital visitation, certain rights w.r.t. children of their partners, "spousal" privilege, etc, there are a few things which when lumped in with those rights makes me a no vote. Referendum I would give gay couples the same rights to child adoption. I have no issue with, and happen to know a great example of, gay couples lovingly adopting children that no loving, sound, married couple want. Those children are undoubtedly better off than they would have been in an orphanage. That said, infertile couples in this country have a shortage of healthy newborns up for adoption and a kid with a loving mom and dad is better off than the same kid with 2 loving dads or 2 loving moms. Referendum I also gives domestic partners exemption from inheritance tax and rights to pensions, etcetera in kind with married couples. The inheritance tax in particular isn't a big issue for me since I think it should be abolished completely but you should all know that this thing not only gives domestic partners all the rights with regards to each other that it gives to married couples but gives them all the legal rights from the state, the courts (right to sue over loss of a partner) and employers that married couples get and forces the state to treat married couples and domestic partners exactly the same. Even if you think that is a good idea you have to admit that it creates certain legal problems in that other states and the federal government don't recognize all of those rights so we get into "whose rules" problems in the courts which are expensive and divisive. I am a NO on this one.
Referendum J - is a companion to Amendment 39 and is more of an extension than a companion in that it allows the local voters to exempt their own school board from the provision. There are two problems with that. First, local voters have been suckered into stupid ideas by the local school board before. Second, that exemption from the voters is PERMANENT, with no provision to allow those voters to "fix" the exemption if they determine they have been suckered 3 or 5 years later. This is clearly a sneak attack to get a back door from Amendment 39. I might vote for the ability of the local voters to grant a 4 year, renewable by the voters, exemption if we see that the state board/governor's waiver provision in 39 proves to be ineffective in rationally exempting schools because of reasonable circumstances beyond their control. If you support 39 and want it to have teeth, you have to vote against J, so I am a NO on this one. It is solving a problem that I don't think exists.
Referendum K - is authorization for the state of Colorado to sue the federal government over the cost to the state of all the illegal aliens that the federal government has "allowed" to enter the state and not covered the cost of. While I agree that the federal government needs to do a lot more to secure the borders, suing the federal government is a monumental waste of time, effort and tax dollars. All sane citizens should vote NO on this.