One Man's Ballot

October 11 2006, 11:52 AM
Colorado's ballot contains more issues this year than it has in years, and with so many amendments and referenda present, there is a lot to keep track of. With that in mind, here's my sample ballot for 2006: AMENDMENT 38 Jason's Vote: NO If you think this year's ballot is already too long, then make sure to vote ‘NO' on Amendment 38, which would make it easier to get measures on the ballot in future years. The fact that we have so many issues on the ballot this year is all the proof you need that Amendment 38 is a solution in search of a problem; obviously it isn't that hard to get something on the ballot currently. Amendment 38 is a horrible idea and completely subverts the idea of an elected legislature. It's too easy to get things onto the ballot in California, which is why their constitution is a complete mess and why the legislature has so much trouble getting anything done. Why even have an elected legislature if you don't let them do their job? AMENDMENT 39 Jason's Vote: NO This amendment would require that school districts spend at least 65% of their budgets on classroom expenses. It's a good idea in principal, but it doesn't really work in practice because school districts in rural areas are different than school districts in suburban areas; rural districts, for example, have more transportation costs relative to their budget than do suburban districts because students live much further from their respective schools. School districts should have the right to set their own budgets, and the state shouldn't be taking away that local control. AMENDMENT 40 Jason's Vote: NO This amendment would put term limits on judges, which is like putting term limits on doctors. There is a lot of popular opposition to this amendment, and for good reason: Judges get better with experience, and this amendment would get rid of judges before they got any experience. This is only on the ballot because supporters are trying to get rid of a few judges that they don't like, but down the road it could be a real mess for our legal system. AMENDMENT 41 Jason's Vote: NO This measure would severely restrict gifts that public officials receive from lobbyists and would restrict what companies former elected officials can work for. While the intention is good, this amendment would create more problems than it would solve. It's also wrong, in my opinion, for the state to tell anyone who they can or cannot work for. AMENDMENT 42 Jason's Vote: YES This measure would increase the minimum wage in Colorado from $5.15 per hour to $6.85 per hour and provide for annual adjustments to coincide with inflation. Our minimum wage is way too low and hasn't been adjusted for a long time. This is a long overdue change, in my opinion. AMENDMENT 43 Jason's Vote: NO This is the gay marriage ban amendment, and I'm voting no because it is already not legal – by state statute – for gay couples to marry. This is on the ballot purely for political purposes (to increase voter turnout for Republicans) and it's another example of a solution in search of a problem. AMENDMENT 44 Jason's Vote: YES This amendment would legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana in Colorado. I've always believed that it makes more sense to regulate and tax the sale of marijuana rather than put people in jail for petty possession offenses. REFERENDUM E Jason's Vote: YES This measure would extend the property tax exemption for qualifying seniors to disabled military veterans. I think it's the least we can do for our disabled veterans. REFERENDUM F Jason's Vote: YES This measure concerns recall elections of elected officials and moves the requirements from being in the constitution to being in the state statute. I don't really have anything to say about this. REFERENDUM G Jason's Vote: YES This issue deals with removing obsolete provisions from the state constitution, such as an outdated section that deals with state militias. It's good to remove outdated sections from the constitution just for simplicity's sake. REFERENDUM H Jason's Vote: YES This measure penalizes businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants. If we're going to deal with the issue of illegal immigration, we need to hold the employers accountable for now following the law. REFERENDUM I Jason's Vote: YES This measure provides for certain benefits to be extended to domestic partnership relationships that straight couples already enjoy. Whether or not you agree with gay relationships is one thing, but there's really no reason, for example, that a gay man shouldn't be allowed to make funeral arrangements for a deceased partner because he isn't legally recognized as being in that relationship (although a straight couple would have those rights). This has nothing to do with marriage. REFERENDUM J Jason's Vote: NO This is basically the same thing as Amendment 39, the 65% spending requirement for school districts. The state shouldn't tell a local school district how they have to spend their money. REFERENDUM K Jason's Vote: NO This measure would force the Colorado Attorney General into a lawsuit demanding that the federal government enforce immigration laws. I think the federal government should be doing more on illegal immigration – it's a federal, not a state issue, after all – but I don't like the idea of voters forcing the Attorney General to file a lawsuit. This would set a bad precedent in my opinion.