SubscribeAvailable Now

What Happened to Amendment 54


In 2008, Amendment 54 narrowly passed by a single percentage point, as voters hoped to minimize undue influence in politics by barring campaign contributions from no-bid state contractors, their families, and members of boards of directors. But yesterday the Colorado Supreme Court shot down the amendment in a 4-1 decision, stating it was overly broad and “so incomplete or riddled with omissions that it cannot be salvag[ed]” (via The Denver Post). Among the problems, the amendment wrongly defined labor unions as no-bid contractors, limiting their political contributions. The amendment also disproportionately impacted no-bid contractors and their families by prohibiting political contributions for two years following a government contract. The amendment had been supported by the libertarian-minded Independence Institute and was sold to voters as a way to guard against corruption, writes The Colorado Independent. “The authors of Amendment 54 tried to silence political speakers they don’t like, but they ran into a little roadblock called the First Amendment, and, fortunately for all of us, they have failed,” says Mark Grueskin, an attorney who represented some of the plaintiffs in the case, in a news release. The Grand Junction Sentinel essentially agrees in an editorial that hails the decision as “the latest in a string of defeats for those wanting to decree who can and cannot engage in political speech.”

Plan Your Summer

Newsletter Signup

Keep me up to date on the latest trends and happenings around Denver. 5280 has a newsletter for everyone. Sign Up