Paul Jacob

In Wisconsin, New Jersey, Indiana and Ohio — and even Washington, DC — Republicans prove themselves by standing up to powerful special interests and proposing (and even enacting) daring reforms. But there’s one spot on the map intent on keeping the old idea of an Insider Knows Best GOP alive and kicking.

In Colorado, leading Rocky Mountain Republicans have determined that their fight is really not with Democrats at all; it’s with Colorado voters. Republicans and Democrats in the Colorado General Assembly are on the same side — against citizens having too much of a voice.

Hence the GOP approach of helping pass Democratic Senate President Brandon Shaffer’s most pressing concern, Senate Concurrent Resolution 1, a constitutional amendment designed to give big business and big labor very undemocratic power to defeat citizen initiatives.

The whole point of SCR-1, which the Democratically-controlled Senate may pass and send over to the Republican-controlled House as early as tomorrow, is to make it more difficult for average Coloradans to petition their government and pass amendments to the state constitution that a majority of Coloradans support. It’s a stiff arm, an elbow thrown at voters by politicians (cheered on by a laundry list of special interest groups, both right and left) who frankly like running government for their own ends all by themselves, thank you very much.

SCR-1 is a constitutional amendment specifically requiring that any new amendments gain a supermajority of 60 percent to prevail. This places the Colorado Constitution in the hands of a minority of voters.

The raised percentage empowers the same big money special interests endorsing SCR-1 (and preparing to spend considerable sums of money urging its passage) by providing a new electoral terrain where their financial advantage can defeat any future reform proposal. By purchasing enough 30-second TV attack ads, big business or big labor can almost always hold down majority support to even one vote under 60 percent. Under this new supermajority requirement, the people would lose — even a whopping 59.9 percent majority of them.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.