Story and Photo
By Jack Minor
America was founded as a representative Republic and one of the bedrock principles is that power is intended to be ultimately vested in the people. One of the exercises of these principles is the ability of the people to vote directly on initiatives to the law or constitution. Again, only 18 states give the people the power to petition both initiatives and constitutional amendments as we do in Colorado. In this article we will look at a series of amendments that have been placed on the ballot by the legislature for the people to vote on.
Amendment P – Regulation of Games of chance
This amendment has been placed on the ballot by the legislature to transfer jurisdiction for the licensing of “games of chance” from the Colorado State Department to the Department of Revenue. This does not make any other changes to existing state statutes regarding requirements for any games of chance, however, it is important to keep in mind that the types of games of chance listed do not just refer to gambling at casinos but also any “bona fide chartered branch or lodge or chapter of a national or state organization or to any bona fide religious, charitable, labor, fraternal, educational, voluntary firemen’s or veterans’ organization that operates without profit to its members.” Again, these organizations are still required to be licensed; under this amendment they would be licensed by the Department of Revenue rather than the Department of the State.
Amendment Q- Temporary Location for the State Seat of Government
This would give the governor the ability to designate a different location for the government to operate outside of the current location in Denver after issuing an executive order declaring a disaster emergency.
The bill states the governor must consult with the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House after issuing the disaster emergency. Unlike other executive orders passed by similar states and even some presidential administrations, this amendment gives a relatively clear definition of what criteria can be used in declaring a disaster emergency stating it “means the occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or sever damage, injury, illness, or loss of life or property resulting from an epidemic or a natural, man-made, or technological cause.”
Amendment R – Exempt Possessory Interest in Real Property
This is primarily addressed to individuals who use a piece of land owned by the government such as farmers, cabin owners or a small business owner operating a motel, trailer park or some other type of business. These people pay a tax to the Federal government for permission to use the land. In other words, taxable possessory interest means they pay an interest for possessing real estate. This amendment would only exempt those who pay less than $6,000 in possessory interest for their property. Colorado County Inc. which backs the amendmen,t says the current system is inefficient. They state that counties will often send notifications out to mostly agricultural lands to collect less than $1 in a costly and time-consuming process. If Amendment R is passed individuals, mostly farmers will not have to pay taxes to use their land.
Next: Amendment 62, the Personhood amendment
Tags: amendment, ballot, Colorado, Department, Department Revenue, disaster, emergency, executive, government, governor, interest, land, location, organization, pay, property, state, transfer, use, vote