Last year, you may recall, business leaders paid unions to remove several initiatives from the ballot. The unions then took the money to fight measures they opposed. Representative Amy Stephens, a Republican from Monument, didn’t like that one bit. So she introduced a bill that would make it a criminal offense for anyone to withdraw an initiative once it is on the ballot, writes the Denver Business Journal.

But as the Colorado Springs Gazette notes, the measure, which would have banned the $3 million payout that unions received from businesses last year, was defeated yesterday in a 6-5 committee vote: six of seven Democrats against and all four Republicans for. The Colorado Bar Association opposed the bill, testifying that restricting how money is spent in elections amounts to a clamping down on freedom of speech.

Meanwhile, Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, a conservative Lakewood think tank, has publicly thrown support behind the bill, joking that without it, Colorado has a “brand-new profit center,” noting the possibility for political ransom.