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Measures on property compensation, payday loans make Colorado’s fall ballot

Author: Marianne Goodland - August 28, 2018 - Updated: August 28, 2018

ballot measuresA truck bearing some of the 209,000 petition signatures — a state record — turned in to the Secretary of State on August 3 for ballot measure 108. (Photo by Marianne Goodland, Colorado Politics)

Colorado’s November ballot got a little more crowded Tuesday when two more measures fulfilled the requirements qualifying them for the general election.

Initiative 108, which would require governments to compensate property owners when the government takes action that devalues property, and Initiative 126, which would reduce payday loan interest and fees, both turned in enough qualified petition signatures, according to the  Colorado secretary of state’s office.

Initiative 108 as seen as a pro-oil-and-gas measure intended as a counterpoint to Initiative 97, which would greatly restrict new drilling operations near homes, and therefore conceivable lower the value of property. That measure has not yet qualified for the ballot.

Backers of Initiative 108 turned in 209,111 signatures, more than double the required 98,492 signatures. The measure would change the state constitution. Given this — under the “Raise the Bar” amendment passed in 2016, stiffening rules for constitutional changes — backers were also required to turn in signatures from 2 percent of the registered voters in each of the 35 state Senate districts. The measure had more than 72,000 invalid signatures, making its margin just under 40,000 signatures.

The measure must receive 55 percent of the vote in November in order to be placed into the state Constitution.

Proponents of Initiative 126 submitted 189,297 signatures, according to the secretary of state. The verification process for the 126, which would change state statutes, used random samples instead of the more precise method required for a constitutional measure. The secretary of state estimated the measure had 112,998 valid signatures, about 14 percent more than required.

The measure would cap payday loan interest rates, including all fees, at 36 percent. Currently, payday lenders can charge as much as 200 percent on a $500 loan, making it nearly impossible to pay back, according to proponents.

There are two more ballot measures awaiting verification: Initiative 97, which would increase setbacks for new oil and gas drilling activities, and Initiative 173.

Under the latter, if a person puts a million dollars or more into a political campaign, the campaign limits for everyone else in the same race would “go up five times, so you can raise enough money to compete with the millionaire or billionaire trying to buy the election,” according to proponent and former state Sen. Greg Brophy of Wray.

The secretary of state has until Sept. 5 to verify whether the last two measures qualify for the November ballot.

The addition of Tuesday’s ballot measures bring to five the number of citizen-initiated questions on the November ballot. That now includes Amendment 73, which would seek to raise $1.6 billion in income taxes, levied on incomes of $150,000 per year or more; and two transportation ballot measures certified last week.

Another six referred questions were submitted by the Colorado General Assembly, including a pair of measures that would change the way Colorado draws congressional and legislative district boundaries.

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland is the chief legislative reporter for Colorado Politics. She's covered the Colorado General Assembly for 20 years, starting off in 1998 with the Silver & Gold Record, the editorially-independent newspaper at CU that was shuttered in 2009. She also writes for six rural newspapers in northeastern Colorado. Marianne specializes in rural issues, agriculture, water and, during election season, campaign finance. In her free time (ha!) she lives in Lakewood with her husband, Jeff; a cantankerous Shih-Tzu named Sophie; and Gunther the cat. She is also an award-winning professional harpist.