The bill implements changes to the Colorado constitution approved by voters at the 2016 general election that make it more difficult to amend the state constitution by:
- Prohibiting a petition for an initiated state constitutional amendment to be submitted to voters for approval or rejection unless the petition is signed by the constitutionally specified number of registered electors who reside in each state senate district and total number of registered electors; and
- Requiring at least 55% of the votes cast on any state constitutional amendment to adopt the amendment; except that only a simple majority of the votes cast is necessary to adopt a state constitutional amendment that only repeals in whole or in part a provision of the state constitution.
When a draft of a ballot issue that proposes a state constitutional amendment is filed with the title board, the title board must decide if the proposed constitutional amendment only repeals in whole or in part a provision of the state constitution for purposes of determining the required percentage of votes cast to adopt the amendment. The designated representatives of the proponents or any registered elector who is not satisfied with the title board's decision may appeal the decision by filing a motion for rehearing to the title board. Decisions of the title board at the rehearing on this issue may be directly appealed to the Colorado supreme court in the same manner as ballot title and fiscal impact abstract appeals.
The bill requires the secretary of state to notify proponents of a petition for an initiated state constitutional amendment of the number and boundaries of the state senate districts in existence and the number of registered electors in each state senate district at the time the petition format is approved. The secretary of state must validate signatures on a petition for an initiated state constitutional amendment by random sampling. If the random sample establishes that the number of valid signatures is 90% or less of the total number of registered electors needed to declare the petition sufficient, the secretary of state is required to deem the petition to be not sufficient. If the random sample establishes that the number of valid signatures is more than 90% of the total number of registered electors needed to declare the petition sufficient, the secretary of state is required to order the examination of each signature filed.
After the examination of a petition for an initiated constitutional amendment, the secretary of state is required to issue a statement as to whether a sufficient number of valid signatures from each state senate district and a sufficient total number of valid signatures appear to have been submitted to certify the petition to the ballot. If the secretary of state declares that the petition appears not to have either a sufficient number of valid signatures from each state senate district, a sufficient total number of valid signatures, or both, the secretary of state's statement shall specify the number of sufficient and insufficient signatures from each state senate district, the total number of sufficient or insufficient signatures, or both, as applicable. The bill allows the proponents of the petition to cure an insufficiency of signatures in one or more state senate districts, the total valid signatures, or both, as applicable.
$4,120 is appropriated from the department of state cash fund for use by the department of state for personal services.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)