Monday Deadline for Signature Gathering for 2020 Ballot Measures
Coloradans will consider as many as 11 initiatives on the November 2020 ballot—1 referendum petition, 3 measures referred by the state legislature, and up to 7 citizen led initiatives. Over 300 citizen led ballot measures were introduced for the 2020 ballot, but so far only 3 citizen led measures have been approved and 4 are awaiting signature verification by the Secretary of State. Today at 3:00pm was the deadline for submitting signatures for campaigns seeking to place an initiative on the November ballot. Campaigns must submit 124,632 valid signatures to be placed on the ballot. The Secretary of State has until September 2, 2020 to verify the signatures.
Placing a measure on the 2020 ballot was complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic which made signature gathering, already a costly endeavor, particularly challenging this year. Governor Polis’s executive order that allowed for email signatures was overturned by the Colorado Supreme Court earlier this summer, meaning campaigns had to gather all signatures through in-person petitions. These circumstances led to a number of initiatives failing to gather enough signatures. Initiative #271 that would create a graduated income tax system, replacing the state’s flat income tax, did not make it on the ballot. The campaign Fair Tax Colorado announced at the end of July that it didn’t have enough signatures to make it on the November ballot.
Several measures from the oil and gas industry didn’t make it on the ballot. Protect Colorado, a group supportive of the oil and gas industry, withdrew the measures after coming to an agreement with Governor Polis to allow for the full implementation of SB19-181, the bill from 2019 that made several reforms to oil and gas regulations, and to avoid placing oil and gas measures on the ballot. Governor Polis said that he would oppose any measure for or against oil and gas restrictions so that SB19-181 could be fully implemented. The measures pulled after the agreement included Initiative #284 that would prohibit state and local governments from passing laws or ordinances that limit installation of natural gas appliances and #304 that would have required fiscal impact statements to be included with all future ballot measures. One measure that would place restrictions on oil and gas failed to make it on the ballot. #174 Setback Requirement for Oil and Gas Development proposed increasing setback requirements for new oil and gas development.
On the Ballot
- National Popular Vote Referendum would repeal SB19-042 National Popular Vote that was passed in the 2019 legislative session.
- SCR20-001 Repeal Property Tax Assessment Rates proposes to repeal the Gallagher Amendment from the state constitution.
- HB20-1427 Cigarette Tobacco and Nicotine Products Tax proposes to increase the taxes on tobacco products, place a new tax on nicotine vaping products, and use the increase in revenue for K-12 education and pre-school funding.
- HCR20-1001 Bingo Raffles Allow Paid Help and Repeal 5-year Minimum proposes to lift certain restrictions related to bingo-raffle licenses for non-profit organizations.
- #76 Citizenship Qualification of Electors proposes to clarify in the state constitution that only a US citizen is qualified to vote.
- #107 Restoration of Gray Wolves proposes to require Colorado Parks and Wildlife to develop a plan to reintroduce gray wolves in Colorado.
- #120 Prohibition on Late Term Abortions proposes to prohibit abortions after 22 weeks.
Pending Signature Review by the Secretary of State
- #283 Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program proposes creating a paid family and medical leave insurance program.
- #295 Voter Approval Requirement for Creation of Certain Fee Based Enterprises would require voter approval for the state enterprises if the program’s projected fee revenue exceeds $100 million in the first 5 years of the program.
- #306 State Income Tax Rate Reduction proposes to reduce the state income tax rate from 4.63 percent to 4.55 percent.
- #257 Local Voter Approval of Gaming Limits in Black Hawk, Cripple Creek, and Central City proposes removing the $100 bet limit and allowing the voters in the 3 towns where gaming is allowed to establish bet limits and expand the types of games allowed.