Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Common Curse and the Initiative Process

The Rocky Mountain News has a very interesting piece about the unintended consequences of the initiative process in general and specifically Common Curse's (aka. Common Cause) last two successful initiatives, Amendment 27 & 41.

A real fight is brewing with in the Democrat's ranks over the implementation of A-41, which can only be good for the Republicans.

However the boarder reaching issue is that most voters really don't understand the amendments that they are voting on.

Speaking about the problems with A-41, Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald said, "I think the supporters need to go back to the voters. And quite frankly, the citizens need to do a better job of educating themselves on what these ballot measures really do."

The the real problem is that the initiative system makes several basic and flawed assumptions.

It assumes that the electorate is well informed enough to fully understand the consequences of initiatives that even lawyers can't explain. It also assumes that the people we elect to represent us in Denver aren't going to do a good enough job, and we need to circumvent the expensive legislative process.

What do we pay our legislators for, if we are unwilling to let them write our laws? The initiative process is nothing more than an instrument of bad public policy and bad politics.

Money quote:
"If the voters didn't trust us enough to let lobbyists buy us a sandwich in the Capitol basement, imagine how they would feel about a legislative rollback of their handiwork," Senate Minority Leader Andy McElhany R-Colorado Springs.

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