Platform of the Libertarian Party of Colorado
- Voting Methods
- Political Party Primaries
- Right to Work and Right to Unionize
- Health Care Mandates
- Juror Service
- The Death Penalty
- Self-Defense and Gun Control
- The Drinking Age
- Safe Access to Medical Marijuana
- Eligibility for Student Aid
- Corporate Welfare and Subsidies
- Public Information
- State-Mandated Discriminatory Assistance
- Election of County Commissioners
- Forced Annexation
- Accountability of Special Districts
- Corporatism through Special Districts
- Use of the Safety Clause
- Colorado State Sovereignty
Libertarians have no subsidies, favors, or programs to offer you. We offer you only freedom; Freedom to keep the fruits of your labor; Freedom to be different without being persecuted; Freedom to control your children’s education; and the Freedom to live your lives as you choose so long as you respect the right of others to do likewise.
In the following pages we set forth our stands on state and local issues, all derived from our fundamental commitment to freedom.
Note: CRS = Colorado Revised Statutes (State law)
CRS XX-XX-XXX = Title-Article-Section
In the same spirit possessed by the abolitionists who fought to free the slaves, Libertarians believe that freedom is a fundamental human right. With the same conviction as the women’s suffrage movement, which secured for women the right to vote, Libertarians believe that all citizens should enjoy equal civil rights. Sharing the vision of those patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence, Libertarians believe that the role of government is to protect these rights.
As freedom is rooted in individual rights, only people who enjoy their full human and civil rights are truly free and able to enjoy the full benefits of their liberty. When liberty flourishes, people are free to build lives in which opportunities for personal, economic and social advancement abound. Individuals living free lives will create a society that accepts a diversity of beliefs, values, and ideas while fostering a free marketplace in which voluntary, mutually beneficial interactions improve the quality of life for all. Liberty is founded upon the recognition and mutual respect of human and civil rights.
A right is the ultimate personal authority to perform some act. A right can never obligate others to perform an act, as this would force others into servitude. A free people have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not commit fraud or forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose. In a free society, no one is forced to sacrifice their values for the benefit of others.
While human rights are enjoyed by all people through virtue of our humanity, civil rights are enjoyed only by citizens. All types of rights are equal, meaning that the rights of no individual or group can be greater than those of any single individual. And the exercise of every right imposes an appropriate level of responsibility upon that person. Because the exercise of some rights requires the ability to understand the possible consequences from our actions, some rights may not be realized until an appropriate level of comprehension and responsibility is reached.
In contrast to rights, a privilege is permission from an authority to perform some act. While all types of rights are equal, privileges are not equal and give some individuals advantage over others. Because all legitimate power stems from the people, governments may only grant such privileges, typically in the form of licenses or permits, as the people have authorized. The people do not possess the authority to empower government to infringe upon human or civil rights for any reason. However, when people violate the rights of others, those individuals forfeit their rights to the extent necessary for justice to be restored.
To respect human rights is to acknowledge self-ownership of the individual. To violate human rights, by requiring licenses or permits to exercise those rights, is to disregard self-ownership of the individual, and is a form of subjugation.
To respect civil rights is to acknowledge that government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. To deny people their civil rights, such as voting, is to govern without the consent of the people.
In a free society, government is established of, by, and for the people. The purpose of government is to protect our human and civil rights, establish a judicial system, provide for the common defense, and serve as steward of our public resources.
In most Colorado elections, the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes is elected. When there are three or more candidates in a race, this can lead to situations where some candidates act as “spoilers,” drawing votes away preferentially from some candidates and altering the winner of the race. Such voting systems discourage voters from selecting their preferred candidate, but encourage casting “strategic” votes for the candidate they regard merely as the “lesser of two evils.”
Voting systems should not thwart the preferences of the people, as expressed in a popular election, and should not encourage citizens to vote against the candidate who most strongly reflects their own values and principles.
- CRS 1-7 should be amended to allow counties, municipalities, and special districts to employ alternative voting systems, including, but not necessarily limited to, instant runoff voting, approval voting, or range voting.
- CRS 1-5-615 should be amended to require that voting technologies certified by the Secretary of State be compatible with ranked-choice voting methods.
- CRS 1 should be amended to allow that “None of the above” be a ballot choice for each elected office.
Political Party Primaries
Taxpayers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to subsidize party primaries, which select the nominees of the Republican and Democratic Parties for local, state, and federal offices. Much of the process of nominee selection takes places within party caucuses, assemblies, and conventions rendering many primaries redundant or uncontested. Furthermore, more than a third of Coloradans are not affiliated with any political party, and are disenfranchised from these state-run elections.
Private political activity should not be sponsored by taxpayers. Requiring taxpayers to pay for internal party business forces them to subsidize viewpoints with which they disagree and favors candidates and voters affiliated with political parties over those who are unaffiliated.
CRS 1-4 should be amended to eliminate state-run primaries and replace them with means of choosing party nominees determined by the constitutions and bylaws of individual political parties.
Right to Work and Right to Unionize
Politicians across the political spectrum seek to alter the balance of power in negotiations between employees and employers by restricting the freedom of all sides to negotiate freely on a level playing field. Restricting employers, unions, or workers from seeking the terms and conditions they desire infringes on freedom of contract and distorts the free market, ultimately to the detriment of businesses, employees, and the economy as a whole.
The contract between an employer and employee is a voluntary relationship — both sides choose to enter into it and can only fairly negotiate on the terms of the contract when not interfered with by government. The relationships between employers, employees, and labor unions should be decided by private negotiations between those parties, without government interference.
Therefore, government may not prohibit “closed shops” because that would interfere with an employer’s right to request union membership as a condition of an employment contract; similarly, governments may not mandate “closed shops” because they impose involuntary conditions on employment contracts that neither the employer nor the employee may agree to. There is no inherent “right to work,” nor a “right to unionize,” merely the freedom for all to negotiate conditions of employment on equal footing.
Short of rescinding the entire set of laws which dictate how unions must be organized in Colorado, the following changes should be made:
- Laws which prohibit certain employees from forming labor unions, such as CRS 8-3-104 (11) (a), should be repealed.
- Laws which prohibit competition among labor unions, such as CRS 8-3-107, should be repealed.
- Laws which limit the ways in which unions may negotiate with employers, such as portions CRS 8-3-108 (1) (c), which prohibit “all-union agreements” except under certain circumstances, should be repealed.
- Laws which force employers to negotiate with unions against their will, such as CRS 8-3-108 (1) (d) should be repealed.
- Laws which limit the ability to employees to strike, such as CRS 8-3-108 (2) (e) (f), (i), and (j) and CRS 8-3-113, should be repealed.
- Laws which prohibit certain terms or conditions in employment contracts, such as the proposed “Colorado Right to Work Amendment,” should be opposed.
Health Care Mandates
Health care and health insurance are becoming more expensive. Government mandates on health care workers, on institutions, and on insurers have multiplied costs and restricted the supply of health care. Further, some in government are advocating “universal” health care, in which government dictates the terms of health care for consumers, employers, and providers.
A free and open marketplace is an essential element of a free society. Competition in all sectors, including health care and health insurance, provides for better service at more affordable prices. Personal health care choice is an essential aspect of individual and family freedom. Government mandates specifying levels of coverage and restricting competition is a form of corporatism, which is antithetical to a free society.
All mandates requiring health insurers to cover specific services or types of providers should be repealed. There are currently 46 such mandates codified in CRS 10-16-104. Ending these mandates could drop health insurance costs by as much as one third (using the median cost estimates for Colorado in the
“Health Insurance Mandates in the States 2007”
study by The Council for Affordable Health Insurance.
The “Colorado Uniform Jury Selection and Service Act” (CRS 13-71) creates an “obligation” (CRS 13-71-103) to perform juror service “when selected.” CRS 13-71-111 states that “failure to obey the summons without justifiable excuse is a violation of section 18-8-612, C.R.S., and a class 3 misdemeanor punishable by a minimum fifty dollars fine or a maximum of six months imprisonment, or seven hundred fifty dollars fine, or both.” (CRS 18-1.3-501)
As juror service in Colorado is effectively involuntary servitude, this statute is inconsistent with the Colorado State Constitution, Article II, Section 26, which states “There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”
Further, CRS 13-71-126 and 13-71-133 specifies that it is the employer’s duty (rather than the State’s) to compensate jurors for the first three (3) days of their service, or be held liable.
In a free society, government does not have the authority to infringe upon human or civil rights for any reason. This includes coercing citizens into involuntary servitude for purposes of juror service. Further, the state does not have the authority to hold innocent businesses liable for court costs, including juror compensation to their employees.
The “Colorado Uniform Jury Selection and Service Act” (CRS 13-71) should be revised to:
- Create a voluntary juror service offering competitive pay (as contractors).
- Define the qualifications for volunteer jurors.
- Ensure that juror selection is fair and impartial.
- Provide for the funding of jurors and other court costs through excise taxes (e.g., licenses and permits) and the collection of penalties and fines for offenses within that jurisdiction
In 2006 the people of Colorado approved initiative 43 to amend the Colorado State Constitution to specify that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Colorado.
Because the sacred institution of marriage was established by religion, this creates a conflict within the Colorado State Constitution as Article II, Section 4, forever guarantees the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination. An amendment to the Colorado State Constitution defining any religious term, including marriage, not only creates a conflict with Article II, Section 4; but also constitutes an abridgment, regulation or restriction of our right to religious freedom.
Also, Article II of the Colorado State Constitution is our Bill of Rights. To include limitations and/or restrictions in a Bill of Rights is contrary to its very purpose, nature and spirit.
Further, the free exercise of religion, including marriage, is a fundamental human right. A state requirement for a marriage license (CRS 14-2) is an infringement upon this human right.
In a free society, the people do not possess the authority to empower government to infringe upon human or civil rights for any reason. And freedom of or from religion is a basic, fundamental human right. To respect human rights is to acknowledge self-ownership of the individual. To violate human rights is to disregard self-ownership of the individual, and is a form of subjugation. A free people embrace the separation of church and state in order to prevent the tyranny of a theocracy. The Marriage Amendment violates this fundamental principle.
In contrast to rights, a privilege is permission from an authority to perform some act. While all types of rights are equal, privileges are not equal and give some individuals advantage over others. To violate human rights, by requiring marriage license, is to disregard self-ownership of the individual, and is a form of subjugation.
The Marriage Amendment (Initiative 43) should be repealed from the Colorado State Constitution because it:
- Creates a conflict with Article II, Section 4.
- Is an infringement upon human rights – inconsistent with the Bill of Rights.
Also, all requirements relating to obtaining a marriage license (contained in CRS 14-2) should be repealed.
The Death Penalty
The most heinous murders in Colorado are presently subject to the death penalty, or state-sponsored execution. Only two executions have been carried out in the state of Colorado since the death penalty was reinstated in 1984, and only six have been sentenced to death, while the additional legal proceedings, appeals, and paperwork associated with the capital punishment process costs the state over $600,000 every year.
Beyond the financial cost of the death penalty, as compared to life imprisonment, the death penalty overlooks the possibility of justice, forgiveness, or recompense. While a murder is not reversible, a convicted murder in prison can work to provide some degree of restitution to the family of his victim, an outcome that is impossible if the death penalty is imposed.
Most importantly, the death penalty is irreversible and no recompense can be made for an execution later found to be in error. Given the fallibility of any judicial system, punishments that cannot be reversed or compensated for should not be levied. Even if the death penalty were morally appropriate, it cannot be implemented without risking the execution of innocents.
The people do not possess the authority to empower government to infringe upon human or civil rights for any reason. However, when people violate the rights of others, those individuals forfeit their rights to the extent necessary for justice (balance) to be restored. The death penalty is not justice, but rather state-sanctioned revenge. Once the state has been empowered to execute its citizens, only the natures of crimes which are punishable by death are in question.
- Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS 18-1.3-401) should be revised to eliminate the death penalty as a possible punishment for crimes, replacing it with a sentence of life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
- The Governor of Colorado should commute all sentences of convicted criminals on death row to life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
- The Colorado Attorney General and all state district attorneys should not seek the death penalty in any case, and should end any practice of using personal opinions regarding capital punishment as a selection criterion for jurors (ending “death-qualified juries”).
Self-Defense and Gun Control
Many violent crimes are committed every year. And the vast majority of these crimes are committed with a deadly weapon, such as a firearm. This has led many people to push for tighter gun control laws; some even to the extent of banning all firearms, except for police and military. Today, there are many gun control laws throughout Colorado, at both the state (CRS 18-12) and local level.
However, the mere presence of a firearm or other weapon does not cause a violent situation. In fact, it may serve to deter potentially deadly situations before they occur. With the passage of gun control laws, average, law-abiding citizens are disarmed, and unable to defend themselves from criminals. Criminals, who by their very nature do not obey laws, will still have access to firearms and other weapons through a black market. In effect, gun control laws disarm only the good, law abiding people and give the criminals an advantage. It is as true statistically as it is theoretically. Cities with more gun control laws routinely have much higher violent crime rates than those cities with fewer gun control laws.
Self-defense is a fundamental human right. If an individual is attacked, that individual has the right to defend themselves, their family, their property, and others in peril (e.g., kidnapping, rape, etc.), using deadly force if necessary. In order to provide an adequate defense, one must possess weapons that are equal or superior to those of their attacker. Because the use of some weapons requires the ability to understand the possible consequences they can cause, the right to obtain certain weapons may not be realized until an appropriate level of comprehension and responsibility is reached (e.g., maturity).
To require licenses or permits to own weapons, or to require weapons to be registered, is an infringement upon the exercise of the fundamental human right to self-defense. Individuals have the right to transport and use their weapons, including carrying a concealed weapon, as they see fit, provided they do not cause harm to another person or another person’s property. Governments are justified in restricting usage of a weapon, such as a firearm, ONLY to the extent that it directly protects other individuals and/or their property.
Colorado Revised Statutes Title 18, Article 12, should be revised to restrict usage of firearms ONLY to the extent that it directly protects other individuals and/or their property. All other sections of CRS 18-12 should be repealed.
- CRS 18-1-704.5 should be clarified to state that individuals have the right to defend themselves, their family, their property, and others in peril (e.g., kidnapping, rape, etc.), using deadly force if necessary, regardless of location (dwellings, businesses, vehicles, etc.).
- CRS 12-26 (concerning firearms dealers creating and maintaining records of their sale of firearms) should be repealed.
- CRS 12-26.1 (concerning background checks at gun shows) should be repealed.
- CRS 12-27 (concerning the purchase of firearms in contiguous states) should be repealed.
Further, the Colorado State Constitution as Article II, Section 13, should be revised to recognize the human right to carry concealed weapons. People should be held accountable for their actions using weapons, but not mere possession of weapons.
The Drinking Age
Since 1987, individuals between the ages of 18 and 21, while they may purchase other potentially dangerous materials including tobacco and firearms, have not been allowed to legally purchase or publicly possess alcohol in the state of Colorado.
Refusing to allow even responsible consumption of alcohol drives drinking underground, which contributes to dangers such as binge drinking and other irresponsible behavior, and endangers young people’s lives and the public safety.
Furthermore, Colorado and most other states only set their drinking age at 21 after having federal transportation funding threatened under the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984.
Governments should not regulate what substances people consume, especially when they can do so responsibly and do not cause harm to themselves or others.
Additionally, Colorado should not submit to the blackmail inflicted upon it when the federal government withholds transportation funding — tax dollars originally collected from Colorado citizens — based upon whether Colorado enacts laws on unrelated matters.
- CRS 18-12-122 (2) should be amended to set the legal age of alcohol consumption at eighteen years of age.
- CRS 18-12-122 (3) should be revised to define situations such as consumption with the consent of parents, as part of beverage-tastings, or for religious purposes as explicitly legal circumstances, rather than merely as circumstances which may constitute an affirmative legal defense.
Safe Access to Medical Marijuana
In 2000, Colorado voters passed Amendment 20, creating section 14 of article XVIII in the Colorado state Constitution, requiring citizens with diagnosed medical conditions needing to access marijuana for therapeutic medical purposes to register with the state and pay a yearly fee. However, unclear provisions in the law (CRS 18-18) have led to the attempted prosecution and police interference with medical marijuana patients and caregivers who have been designated to grow marijuana plants for their medical use.
Given broad restrictions on cultivation in Colorado criminal law, it is often difficult for patients to safely obtain or purchase medical marijuana from a trusted provider. Arbitrary limitations on the number of plants that can be cultivated and on certification of caregiver status curtail the number of patients that a responsible caregiver or grower can legally serve. Because of these restrictions and the existing black market for marijuana, the state of Colorado has effectively made it more dangerous and expensive for patients to obtain a legal product safely.
To respect human rights is to acknowledge self-ownership of the individual. To impose regulations over what individuals choose to do with or to their bodies, even under the guise of protecting them from themselves, is to disregard self-ownership of the individual, and is a form of subjugation. By imposing fees to access medical marijuana, we have created perhaps the most egregious tax ever, as it only applies to the ill.
Individuals have the right to use substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana – whether for recreational or medical purposes, because they own their bodies. However, the exercise of every right imposes an appropriate level of responsibility upon that person. Because the exercise of some rights requires the ability to understand the possible consequences from our actions, some rights may not be realized until an appropriate level of comprehension and responsibility is reached (e.g., maturity).
The Colorado State Constitution, Article V, Section 2, requires each member of the General Assembly, before entering upon his official duties, to take an oath or affirmation to support the constitution of the United States and of the State of Colorado and to faithfully perform the duties of his office according to the best of his ability. Failure to bring CRS 18-18 into alignment with section 14 of article XVIII in the Colorado state constitution is nothing short of willful negligence.
The Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS 18-18) should be revised to:
- Remove marijuana from the criminal code for anyone over the age of 21.
- Prohibit state and local government officials from sharing information about marijuana cultivation, possession, sale, or use by any Colorado citizen with any federal government agency.
As the violence associated alcohol prohibition dissipated with the end of that black market and its high profit margin, so will the violence that comes from the current marijuana prohibition.
Eligibility for Student Aid
The federal Higher Education Act of 1998 mandates that federal student financial aid be denied to students convicted of drug-related crimes. Students are asked to indicate whether they have been convicted of a drug crime on the “Free Application for Federal Student Aid” (FAFSA). While Colorado cannot change eligibility for federal aid, Colorado’s public universities currently use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for state aid as well as for private financial aid.
The de-facto state adoption of the federal rule renders thousands of students ineligible for state or private aid that is processed through the university, even though there is no state statute or policy requiring this. Furthermore, drug-related offenses are the only criminal offenses singled out by these procedures. Rapists, arsonists, and child molesters are allowed access to student aid that is denied to mere drug offenders.
Colorado’s de-facto adoption of the federal aid elimination provision adds to the injustice of drug laws by standing in the way of rehabilitation for those seeking to recover from drug addiction or previous criminal behavior. While tax dollars should not be used for student aid, denying students fair access to compete for not only state aid, but institutional and private aid as well, the state of Colorado is standing in the way of educational access and opportunity.
The Colorado Legislature, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, and governing bodies of public universities in Colorado should adopt financial aid application procedures that do not deny students the opportunity to compete for state, institutional, and private aid on the basis of prior drug convictions.
Corporate Welfare and Subsidies
From 2001 through 2005 Colorado Legislature spent $71,413,750 (budgeted through the governor’s office) via the “Economic Development Commission” (EDC) for Economic Development Programs providing grants to corporations or companies, public and private, both in and out of the state. Further, since 2005, the Colorado Council on the Arts has separately subsidized companies engaged in producing films and video production training. Also, local governments regularly provide grants and donations to public and private corporations or companies.
Redistributing tax dollars to businesses as grants or subsidies takes money out of the productive economy and impoverishes the people for political gain. Representatives are elected to government to serve the interests of the people, not corporations. The people of Colorado have forbidden, in our State Constitution, Article XI, Sec. 2, the state, any county, city, town, township, or school district from making any donation or grant to any corporation or company, public or private, in or out of the state.
CRS 24-46 (creating and funding the Colorado “Economic Development Commission”) is in conflict with our State Constitution, Article XI, Sec. 2, and must be repealed. Further, the Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) should be amended to create criminal penalties for any member of the Colorado State Legislature, the Governor and officers at all levels of government including county, city, town, township, or school district, who fail to comply with the requirements contained in the Colorado State Constitution, Article XI, Sec. 2.
While, under CRS 24-72-203, all public records must be open for inspection by any person, the same statute allows the state to hold copyright over public works and public records. Copyright allows the copyright holder to legally control the reuse, public display, and distribution of copyright works, as well as to prevent unauthorized creation of derivative works incorporating copyrighted material.
Although “fair use” provisions exist, and prosecution for use of public records is unlikely, in the modern era of digital communications where attention to the copyright status of works is more common than ever before, the mere existence of copyright on government products constitutes a “chilling effect” on the distribution and use of that material.
To place constraints on the use or transmission of public documents is antithetical to the notion of open and accountable government in a free society. Research, reports, and documents produced with tax dollars should be freely available in every sense of the term.
The United States federal government does not claim copyright on material produced by federal entities; similarly, the state of Colorado should not claim copyright on material produced by state entities.
- CRS 24-72-203 should be amended to relinquish the state copyright over all public records created by the state of Colorado and to place all previously copyrighted public records into the public domain.
- CRS 2-5-115 should be amended to either relinquish state copyright over the Colorado Revised Statutes or adopt an open content license, such as the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.
State-Mandated Discriminatory Assistance
Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS), Title 26, Article 1, Part 300-309. The TBI Trust Fund receives $15 for each conviction of individuals driving under the influence (DUI), or driving while ability is impaired (DWAI). The Trust Fund receives $10 for each conviction of speeding. These surcharges began January 1, 2004, and generate between $1.5 million and $2 million each year.
Approximately 65% of the moneys in the Trust Fund are used to provide services to individuals with traumatic brain injuries (as per CRS 26-1-304); 30% are used to support research related to the treatment and understanding of TBI (as per CRS 26-1-306); and 5% are used to provide education about TBI (as per CRS 26-1-305).
The purpose of government is to protect the rights of the people; not create and provide discriminatory assistance to special interest groups. Providing government mandated financial assistance to any select group(s) of people with disabilities (such as TBI) is to discriminate against other equally needy people with disabilities such as Leukemia, Multiple Sclerosis, Hodgkin’s Disease, Muscular Dystrophy, Parkinson’s, Developmental Disabilities, Asthma, AIDS, Lupus, Alzheimer’s, Polio, Diabetes, severe Arthritis, Visual, Hearing, or Speech Impairments, along with Amputees, Burn victims, Paraplegics, Quadriplegics, and people suffering from Aneurysms or Strokes, mental illness and emotional disturbances.
Associating surcharges with traffic offenses to financially aid a special interest group, coerces people – some of whom are experiencing their own financial crisis – to provide financial support for others who are disproportionally more favored by the legislature.
According to the 2006 National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are 25,186 charities in Colorado:
- 15,474 ‘Public Charities’
- 1,806 ‘Private Foundations’
- 7,906 ‘Other 501(c) Non-Profits’
As caring citizens, we are all, each of us morally responsible to help those less fortunate; but government should NEVER, in whatever form, mandate charitable contributions.
The Brain Injury Association of Colorado (BIAC) is a non-profit, statewide organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for survivors of brain injury and their families, and to supporting programs that prevent brain injury.
All of the monies in the TBI fund should be re-directed to the BIAC to dispose as they see best fit. The surcharges used to generate revenue for the TBI Trust Fund should then be phased out over a four year period. This will allow BIAC a period to promote awareness of this issue to the general public and increase private donations to fund their continuing efforts.
Election of County Commissioners
CRS 30-10-306.7 allows for all of a county’s commissioners to be elected by the whole county instead of requiring those representing specific districts to be elected by only those people in the districts they are to represent. This allows for a majority block of voters in the county as a whole to place all of the commissioners in office. By using this method, the needs and desires of the people in a particular district can be ignored in favor of the majority block in the county.
Government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. Allowing citizens to vote in an election of a representative for any district other than where they reside institutes a bias, violating the concept of representative government. In a free society, representatives are democratically elected by only those people whom they represent.
CRS 30-10-306.7 should be revised such as to require that:
- County commissioners representing specific districts may only be elected by those eligible electors residing in the specific district they are to represent.
- Only county commissioners representing the whole county “at large” may be elected by the eligible electors residing throughout the whole county.
Properties which fall within municipal boundaries are subject to city taxes and regulations, as well as provision of city services. A property’s change in status has significant implications for owners, residents, and businesses, as well as costs for the annexing municipality.
However, a property may be annexed into a municipality without the owner’s consent if it is accompanied by neighboring properties whose owners, as a majority, support annexation. Property falling within a municipal enclave lacks even the protection of majority support.
The power of government to plan and regulate does not supersede the rights of individuals to enjoy their property. Involuntary, or forced annexation, violates property rights insofar as taxes and restrictions imposed on property owners without their consent, and it violates civil rights by not granting those annexed a voice in the regulations they immediately become subject to upon annexation.
- Municipalities with the authority to annex land against the will of a property owner should refrain from doing so.
- Petitions for annexation under CRS 31-12-107 should require the consent of all landowners in the territory to be annexed, instead of only those owning fifty-one percent. Annexation referenda subject to CRS 31-12-112 should require unanimity of those voting. This would protect the property rights of landowners who find themselves in the minority.
- Annexation of enclaves under CRS 31-12-106 should not be exempt from the same restrictions as other annexations. This would give residents of enclaves the same protections and due process as residents of other proposed annexations.
Accountability of Special Districts
Where governing bodies have oversight over the expenditure of tax dollars, those same governing bodies should be accountable to the people directly. However, many special districts, including library districts and water conservancy districts, have governing boards which are appointed indirectly; by judges who are themselves appointed, or by agreement of city and county boards. This indirect representation denies citizens a clear voice as to how their tax dollars are spent and undermines the principle of a government that is accountable directly to the people.
Moreover, special districts often enter into legal and contractual obligations with the same government entities. This constitutes an inherent conflict of interest and is not in the best interest of taxpayers. The often-arbitrary and overlapping nature of the entities which hold power over special districts means that some citizens have greater opportunity to influence board membership than others. This, too, denies them their basic civil right of equal representation.
Furthermore, special district elections are often conducted during May at locations separate from typical polling places – which are unfamiliar to the public at large and are poorly publicized.
To respect civil rights is to acknowledge that government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. To deny people their civil rights, by appointing governing boards who are not accountable to the people, is to govern without the consent of the people.
- CRS 24-90-108 should be amended to require that library district boards of trustees be elected by citizens of that district.
- CRS 37-45-115 should be amended to require that water conservancy district boards of trustees be elected by citizens of that district.
- CRS 32-1-805 should be amended so that regular special district elections coincide with annual statewide coordinated or general elections held in November.
Corporatism through Special Districts
The Colorado legislature has created multiple special districts designed to benefit specific groups or organizations by allowing them to obtain revenue through special taxes. Examples include the:
- Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (CRS 32-13)
- Denver Metropolitan Major League Baseball Stadium District (CRS 32-14)
- Metropolitan Football District (CRS 32-15)
- Mental Health Care Service Districts (CRS 32-17)
A free society embraces an open marketplace where groups and organizations can fairly compete. Empowering special interest groups to impose taxes for their private use unfairly restricts competition, diminishes the quality and availability of services, and promotes political corruption. Forcing people to pay for goods or services that they neither want nor use through a special tax is a form of corporatism, and is inconsistent with the values of a free society.
The Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 32, should be amended to prohibit the use of special districts outside the proper role of government. The Scientific and Cultural Facilities Districts should be dissolved and its entities activities funded through means other than taxation. Both the Denver Metropolitan Major League Baseball Stadium District and Metropolitan Football District should be dissolved and its entities funded through customers and private investors. The Mental Health Care Service Districts should be dissolved and its entities funded through customers, donations and investors.
Use of the Safety Clause
Since 1933, the preponderance of legislation passed by the Colorado General Assembly has had a “safety clause” attached, declaring that the bill is “… necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety.” This clause, which has been added to even trivial legislation, prevents citizens from challenging new legislation via petition and referring the measure to the general election ballot.
Legislators should not impede the publics’ right to petition, guaranteed to them by the Colorado Constitution. Furthermore, legislation should be honest in its declarations; falsely declaring emergencies where none exist undermines public confidence in government.
- House and Senate rules should be amended to require a separate debate and vote on the addition of a safety clause to any item of legislation.
- Legislative Joint Rule 24 should be amended to limit bills containing the “safety clause” to one bill per legislative session per introducing sponsor.
- Legislative Joint Rule 24 should be amended to require any bill that includes the “safety clause” to identify and describe the specific emergency.
- The Constitution of the State of Colorado, Article V, section 3, should be amended to require laws henceforth passed for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety to sunset after one year.
Colorado State Sovereignty
Although the United States Constitution clearly specifies those limited powers that the federal government may exercise, Congress has repeatedly ignored these limitations; often citing the “General Welfare Clause” or the “Commerce Clause” of the Constitution in an attempt to justify their actions. Congress has exercised certain powers beyond its Constitutional authority through enacting laws requiring the states to fulfill unfunded mandates and by coercing the states to implement national programs consistent with national “minimum standards”; a system known as “cooperative federalism”.
Examples of un-Constitutional federal mandates includes gun control (e.g., the Brady Bill), violations of personal privacy (e.g., the Real ID Act of 2005, the USA Patriot Act), prohibiting use of various drugs such as marijuana (e.g., the Uniform State Narcotic Act and later the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970), and many more. Congress has also used coercion through requiring certain state laws to conform with federal guidelines as a condition for the state to be eligible for federal funding. For example, federal educational funds may not be allocated to states without implementation of special education programs in compliance with IDEA. Similarly, the nationwide state 55 mph (90 km/h) speed limit, .08 legal blood alcohol limit, and the nationwide state 21-year drinking age were imposed through this method; the states would lose highway funding if they refused to pass such laws. Although the United States Supreme Court has ruled in New York v. United States, 112 S. Ct. 2408 (1992), that Congress may not commandeer the legislative and regulatory processes of the states; the practice of “cooperative federalism” has continued.
In a free society, government is established of, by, and for the people. The United States Constitution specifies which powers the federal government may exercise, and forbids any others. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution is explicit: “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.”
Colorado House Joint Resolution HJR 94-1035, adopted in 1994, gave notice to the federal government that the State of Colorado claims sovereignty, under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the United States Constitution. That Resolution served as Notice and Demand that the federal government, as our agent, was instructed to immediately cease and desist any and all mandates that are beyond the scope of its Constitutionally authorized powers.
The Colorado Revised Statutes contain far too many laws that were passed under the coercion of “cooperative federalism” to list here. Similarly, far too many unfunded federal mandates have been implemented at the expense of Colorado taxpayers.
All of the Colorado Revised Statutes passed under coercion from Congress in conflict with the human or civil rights of the people of Colorado should be immediately repealed. Similarly, all unfunded mandates from Congress that are not within the proper role of government protecting the human or civil rights of the people of Colorado should be immediately discontinued.
In order to prevent federal agents from enforcing laws violating the 10th Amendment, there should be a state law making it a crime for any federal officer to arrest, search, or seize the property of anyone in Colorado without first obtaining the advanced, written permission of the highest level locally-elected authority responsible for law enforcement in the locale where the event is to take place. This would provide locally-elected, accountable law enforcement authorities with the tools necessary to protect the constitutional rights of the people they were elected to serve.