Well, my State House Representative–Amy Stevens–tried, but it looks like the Democrats still prefer to be able to pay people to keep initiatives off the Colorado ballot.
The House State Affairs Committee killed a bill Tuesday that would have made it illegal to remove a ballot initiative in exchange for compensation of any kind.
Rep. Amy Stephens, R-Monument, sponsored the legislation in response to a 2008 pre-election deal between business leaders and unions that resulted in the removal of four anti-business initiatives from the statewide ballot in exchange for $3 million to the unions.
Now doesn’t that present an interesting situation? Here’s how Jon Caldera described it:
Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, testified in favor of the bill. He was a primary backer of Amendment 49 and told the committee that on the eve of the deadline to remove initiatives from the ballot, he was offered $800,000 to pull the initiative. “What an idiot I was not to take that $800,000,” Caldara said, sarcastically adding he now has incentive to put bad measures on the ballot in order to gain financial benefit.
Wouldn’t some slick little hustler have a field day with this kind of setup – which the Democrats and unions stood up for:
Democrat go-to attorney Mark Grueskin, who served as legal counsel for the unions during the 2008 election, testified in opposition. He argued the bill would violate free speech by banning a monetary exchange for removing a ballot measure. “Like it or not money is speech under both [the Colorado and U.S.] Constitutions,” he said.
The bill was ultimately killed on a 6 to 5 vote, with McCann being the only Democrat to vote in favor. Stephens was disappointed, but said she would continue to pursue the issue. “Now that we know those are the terms, we have a new Chicago-style politics,” she said.
Sen. Mike Kopp, R-Littleton, was the bill’s Senate sponsor and called its defeat the “Blagojevich-ization” of Colorado.
I just love that “money is speech” line from a Democrat Union attorney. These are the ones who want to place restrictions on Republican money and then throw their slush funds behind the latest crook (nee The Messiah) while their oppoents hands are tied.
Anybody want to work to get some union-busting ballot initiative going? We can split the bucks when the thugs come to pay us off.