Petitioners for 2016 Colorado ballot initiatives have one month left to gather, submit signatures

Backers of proposed constitutional amendments or propositions must submit 98,492 valid voter signatures, which is 5 percent of the total votes cast in the last Secretary of State election.

AURORA | The march toward the 2016 general election ballot reached a milestone Friday, July 8, as petition gatherers for possible amendments and propositions have a month left to complete their signature gathering.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office advised that all petition signatures for approved ballot initiative petitioners must be submitted by Aug. 8. Backers of proposed constitutional amendments or propositions must submit 98,492 valid voter signatures, which is 5 percent of the total votes cast in the last Secretary of State election.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ office then has until Sept. 7 to process the submitted signatures and notify proponents whether enough valid signatures were gathered.

The only ballot measure currently approved for the general election ballot is Amendment 69, which asks voters whether they support the creation of a state health care system known as “ColoradoCare.” That amendment, also known as Initiative 20, was approved for the ballot in November 2015.

Some of the proposed constitutional amendments include:

No. 40 (The Right to Local Self-Government Amendment), which asks voters to amend the state Constitution to allow for local self-government at the municipal and county levels. The measure is backed by the Colorado Community Rights Network and was prompted by debate over the state’s oil and gas regulations’ pre-emption of local government action.

No. 75 (Local Control of Oil and Gas Development Amendment) and No. 78 (Mandatory Setback from Oil and Gas Development Amendment), both of which are supported by Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development (CREED). No. 75 would give local governments broader powers to regulate or limit oil and gas development, while No. 78 would increase the state’s buffer zone for oil and gas development around homes, hospitals, schools and other sensitive areas from 500 feet to 2,500 feet.

No. 96 (Requirements for Initiated Constitutional Amendments Amendment), which is also known as the “Raise the Bar” amendment. The measure would amend the state Constitution to require signatures from at least 2 percent of electors in each state Senate district for a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot.

No. 101 ($12 Minimum Wage Amendment), which would amend the state Constitution to increase the state’s minimum wage by $0.90 each year until it reaches $12 an hour by 2020, with annual adjustments mandated for cost-of-living increases thereafter.

• And No. 143 (New Cigarette and Tobacco Taxes Amendment), which — if approved — would raise tobacco taxes starting in 2017 and generate up to $315.7 million in new tax revenues.

An assortment of propositions are also approved to gather signatures, including these four:

No. 98 (Unaffiliated Elector Initiative), which would allow unaffiliated voters to take part in primary elections of major political parties in Colorado without changing affiliation.

No. 177 (Retention of Excess State Revenue Initiative), which would suspend the state’s constitutional limit on fiscal year spending through fiscal year 2026, allowing for excess revenues beyond TABOR limits to be spent on education, transportation, mental health and senior services in the state.

No. 140 (Presidential Primary Election Initiative), which would re-establish a presidential primary election sometime before the end of March in a presidential year that would also allow unaffiliated voters to take part without changing party affiliation.

• And No. 145 (Medical Aid in Dying Initiative), which would legalize assisted death for patients with terminal illnesses whose prognosis is death within six months or less.

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