Preview 2016 Ballot Iniatives

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Courtesy of floridapolitics.com

Rachel Vigil , Editor-in-Chief

By Rachel Vigil

During this election year, most of the voters’ attention has been put on the presidential race.

However, the state of Colorado’s ballot also has several monumental initiatives that have the potential to radically change the way people live across the state. There are nine statewide initiatives set to appear on the ballot this year, from universal healthcare to exemptions from the estate tax for some properties.

Here are the ballot initiatives appearing this year:

Amendment T

Amendment T would remove a part of the Colorado Constitution that allows forced, unpaid labor by convicted criminals.

Amendment U

This amendment aims to make possessory interests that are worth less than $6,000 dollars tax exempt. Possessory interests are the financial gains a private company makes by leasing government land. Such interests are not tax exempt under the current state constitution.

Amendment 69

Under Amendment 69, a system called Colorado Care would be created in order to install a system of universal healthcare in Colorado. Universal healthcare is when the government provides medical care to all its citizens. This would be paid for partially by a 10% increase in income tax, two-thirds of which would be taken on by the employer, not the employee. This would be the first such healthcare system in the United States of America if passed.

Amendment 70

If passed, this amendment would increase the minimum wage from $8.31 to $9.30 per hour immediately and then by $0.90 per year on January 1 until 2020, at which point it will reach $12 per hour.

Amendment 71

The current system of getting amendments onto the ballot would be changed if this were passed. Signatures for petitions would be required from 2 percent of voters from all 35 senate districts in Colorado. Amendments on the ballot would also require a 55 percent supermajority in order to be passed. Currently, petitions require a number of signatures equal to 5 percent of the number of voters who cast votes in the last secretary of state election in order to make it onto the ballot.

Amendment 72

The tax on cigarettes, which is currently $0.84, would be increased to $1.75 per pack of 20. This would generate an estimated $299 million for the state budget in the 2017-2018 year.

Proposition 106

Passing this proposition would legalize assisted death among patients who have a terminal illness and receive a prognosis of death within six months. Licensed physicians would provide the pills used to end the patients’ lives. Currently, all forms of assisted death are illegal in Colorado.

Proposition 107

If passed, the Colorado primary system would be changed from individual party caucuses to primary elections held before the end of March. These elections would also allow unaffiliated voters to participate in the primaries. Unaffiliated voters are not, however, allowed to vote for more than one party’s primary. If they do vote in both, their votes will be disregarded.

Proposition 108

Proposition 108 would allow unaffiliated voters to participate in primaries without declaring their party affiliation beforehand. It would also allow the parties to choose their candidates by special committee or convention, rather than the standard primary format.

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While some of these amendments have been paid little to no attention, both monetarily and politically, Amendments 69, 70, 71, 72 have all had over one million dollars poured into either their support or opposition campaign as well as Propositions 106, 107, and 108.

Governor John Hickenlooper has voiced his support for Amendments 70, 71, and 72 as well as Propositions 106, 107, and 108. He has come out in opposition to Amendment 69. To find out more about any and all ballot initiatives and elections in the state of Colorado any registered voter can refer to their official voter’s guide that they will receive in the mail before the election.