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A Case for the Colorado Petition Rights Amendment

As the November 2006 election draws near, Colorado voters will be asked to approve Amendment 38, the Petition Rights Amendment.The Declaration of Independence states: “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Embracing this concept, Article IV, section 4 of the United States Constitution guarantees every state in the union a republican form of government. This was followed by the 10th amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. This means that our government only has such power as is delegated to it by the people. Surely there must be a mechanism for the people to regulate, granting more or less power to the government. This is accomplished through the petition process.The petition process described in the Colorado State Constitution, Article V, section 1, states: “…The people reserve to themselves the power to propose laws and amendments to the Constitution and to enact or reject the same at the polls independent of the general assembly and also reserve power at their own option to approve or reject at the polls any act or item, section, or part of any act of the general assembly.” This means that, through the petition process, the people of Colorado may propose laws, propose Constitutional Amendments, approve or reject (repeal) ANY laws passed by the Legislature.If our representatives begin to abuse the power delegated to them, the people can restrict this power. Because of politicians who fear the people will limit their political power, Colorado now has the nation’s most anti-petition legislation.Currently, there is no effective penalty for spending tax dollars to influence elections. This has led to government officials using our own tax monies to oppose citizen initiatives. Unless we restore our rights to petition, we now stand to lose our ability to restrict government power. Our petition rights in Colorado have eroded to a point where it is now the responsibility of the people to restore these rights through the Petition Rights Amendment. Support Amendment 38.

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