The presidential election may be getting all the attention, but this November is going to be a very significant ballot year in Colorado. Already there are four initiatives approved for the ballot, and five others are pending approval from the Secretary of State, who tabulates the signatures received on petitions.
According to the Secretary of State’s recent press release, one of the issues approved to appear on the ballot this year is Initiative #96, which would make it harder to amend the State Constitution. It would require that “any petition for a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment be signed by at least 2 percent of the registered electors in each of the 35 state Senate districts. The percentage of votes to pass any proposed constitutional amendment would be increased from a majority to at least 55 percent of the votes cast, unless the proposed amendment only repeals any provision of the constitution.”
The ease of amending the Colorado constitution has long been debated in political circles, and constitutional conventions have occasionally been proposed in recent years. In our library you can find numerous resources regarding the amending of the state constitution, including some resources from earlier decades that still capture the issue as it stands today, and offer a history of Colorado’s constitutional amendments and attempts. Selected resources from our library include:
- Recent Changes to the Initiative and Referendum Process. Colorado Legislative Council, 2012.
- Circulation of Initiative Petitions. Colorado Secretary of State, 2011.
- Initiative Procedures and Guidelines. Colorado Secretary of State, 2011.
- The Initiative Process. Legislative Legal Services, 2007.
- A Listing of Statewide Initiated and Referred Ballot Proposals in Colorado, 1912-2006. Colorado Legislative Council, 2007.
- TABOR, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Office of State Planning and Budgeting, 2004.
- A History of Statewide Ballot Issues Since 1964. Colorado Legislative Council, 2003.
- The Model Constitutional Convention: An Examination of Colorado’s State Constitution in Celebration of the Bicentennial of the US Constitution. University of Colorado Denver, 1987.
- The Initiative Process in Colorado Politics: An Assessment. By John S. Shockley. University of Colorado Boulder, 1980.
- Proposed Amendments, Referred and Initiated, to the Colorado Constitution 1946-1976. University of Colorado Boulder, 1978.
- The Colorado Constitution: Is it Adequate for the Next Century? University of Colorado Boulder, 1976.
- Colorado, Constitutionalism, and Contemporary Methods of State Constitutional Revision. University of Colorado Boulder, 1976.
- The Initiative and Referendum in Colorado: A Survey. Colorado Legislative Reference Office, 1940.
- The Proposed Constitutional Amendments, Initiated and Referred Measures, Submitted to the Electors at the General Election, November 3, 1914. Colorado General Assembly, 1915.
- The original state constitution as adopted in 1876
- Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention Held in Denver, December 20, 1875
See also our library’s Blue Book Finding Aid, which includes links to Colorado ballot proposal analysis booklets back to 1954.
To view the Colorado Constitution as it stands today, along with versions back to 2004, see the Colorado and United States Constitutions booklets from the Colorado Secretary of State. The following historical publications include copies of the state constitution as they stood in that respective year:
- The Compiled Laws of Colorado, 1921
- The Revised Statutes of Colorado, 1908
- State of Colorado Legislative Manual
Publications listed here that do not include URLs can be viewed in or checked out from our library. As always, for more resources, search our library’s online catalog.