SOS gives go-ahead to measure needing signatures in all 35 Senate districts

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 News Release


                                                                          MEDIA CONTACT: (303) 860-6903

                                                                                      Lynn Bartels

Julia Sunny


Ballot proposal limiting growth gets go-ahead

Backers must collect signatures in all 35 Senate districts

DENVER, Aug. 9, 2017 -- Backers of a measure that would limit housing growth in Colorado might be the first to test a new provision that requires anyone trying to amend Colorado's constitution to collect a percentage of voter signatures from each of the state's 35 Senate districts.

The Colorado Secretary of State's office this week approved the petition format for proposed Initiative 4, which allows its backers, Daniel Hayes of Golden and Julianne Page of Wheat Ridge, to begin collecting signatures to try to get the measure on the 2018 ballot. They have until Nov. 30 to collect 98,492 valid voter signatures, including at least 2 percent from each Senate district based on current voter registration figures. (See attachments.)

The provision requiring the collection of signatures in each Senate district was approved by voters in 2016 to make it more difficult to amend Colorado's frequently amended Constitution. Amendment 71 or "Raise the Bar," as it was called, is being challenged in court by Hayes, another individual and two health organizations. They claim it is unconstitutional on several fronts.

"Because Amendment 71 forces proponents to collect signatures in these rural districts, it coerces them, on pain of losing a place on the ballot, into speaking to people they do not choose to address in places they do not wish to speak," the plaintiffs wrote in a motion filed in U.S. District Court in Denver.

In addition, Amendment 71 requires that any amendment that adds new language to the state constitution be approved by 55 percent of voters, rather than just a simple majority.

The growth proposal allows all local governments in Colorado to vote to limit housing growth, stipulates that at least 30 percent of housing subject to limitations be set aside for affordable and senior housing and limits new home construction in Front Range counties.

In an interview last year, Hayes said he might resubmit the measure as a proposition so he doesn't have to meet the requirements under Amendment 71. He said this week he is awaiting the results of the court challenge before making that decision.