Yes on state measures A, C, D, no on B, E
Colorado voters have 10 statewide ballot questions to decide in the Nov. 5 election. Half are constitutional amendments sought by groups of citizens, the other half are referenda placed on the ballot by the state Legislature.
The five referenda are nowhere near as volatile politically as the proposed amendments, but they do warrant a close look. We recommend a yes vote on three of the referenda and a no vote on two.
Referendum A would exempt district attorneys from term limits imposed in a previous constitutional amendment. We favor this question and recommend a yes vote.
As in our endorsement to lift term limits for school board members serving the Roaring Fork School District, we feel the best way to limit an undesirable incumbent’s time in office is at the ballot box. District attorneys aren’t as hard to come by in rural Colorado as coroners or surveyors, but there’s still no reason to turn out a good DA after eight years.
If other attorneys don’t like a DA’s work, they will recruit an opponent and give voters a choice.
Referendum B would open the door to public-private partnerships between local governments and health care providers or facilities. This is a convoluted proposal that has not been well-presented during this campaign season.
Perhaps we’re spoiled by a wide availability of health care in Garfield County, but we don’t see the gain in joining government to the health care industry in this way. Moreover, the partnerships would not be subject to the state’s open meetings, open records and conflict of interest laws. That in itself is sufficient reason to reject this proposal. We recommend a no vote on B.
Referendum C would permit the state Legislature to set qualifications for county coroners, including training and certification requirements.
This sounds like a good idea, particularly as death investigations grow more complex. It would facilitate better coordination with law enforcement and give relatives and insurance companies confidence in the ruling on death certificates.
Referendum D calls for the repeal of obsolete provisions from the state Constitution.
These include provisions from the 1960s establishing a statewide court system, and from loans issued in the 1990s that have been repaid.
More controversial is the repeal of a state term limits measure that called for the state’s congressional delegation to push for federal term limits, and for the state to note on the ballot which delegates don’t comply. The entire provision was ruled unconstitutional in 1998 by the Colorado Supreme Court, and the actions of incumbent members of Congress ignoring the intent of term limits make it more irrelevant. Given our stand opposing term limits in general, we aren’t hung up on this and urge a yes vote on this question.
Referendum E would establish March 31 as Cesar Chavez Day, a state holiday. At present, it’s an optional holiday, and state agencies are required to stay open if March 31 falls on a weekday.
In no way do we come up short in our respect for Chavez (1927-1993), the tireless organizer of migrant farm workers in the Southwest. His work inspired many activists to fight for better working conditions for immigrants, and the issue is no less relevant today.
But Colorado already celebrates 10 paid holidays a year, and we feel that’s enough. Lost productivity in state government for another holiday is estimated to cost $10 million a year, and adding an 11th holiday widens the benefits gap between government and private sector workers. We call for a no vote on this question.
– Post Independent Editorial Board
Members of the Editorial Board are Publisher Valerie Smith, Managing Editor Heather McGregor and News Editor Dennis Webb.
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