Colorado has made their voices heard in this 2020 election. While the presidential election has overshadowed many of the other issues on the ballot it should be noted that this 2020 Colorado ballot had more statewide measures than ever before. While it is true that the votes still need to be certified and there are still some outstanding ballots to be counted it is safe to say that all of the statewide measures on the ballot with the exception of Proposition 115 passed.

Constitutional Amendment B – Repeal Gallagher Amendment (Passes with 55% or more of the vote)

The Gallagher amendment since the 80s has set rules in the state of Colorado for property taxes and funding services such as transportation, hospitals, libraries, local police, and fire stations as well as some of the K-12 education. Repealing this amendment gets rid of fixed ratios for residential and nonresidential property taxes that require the revenues to equal the total statewide property taxes. Small business under the Gallagher have paid out more in property taxes than residential properties, this amendment should stop that trend through preventing a projected future decrease on residential assessment rates. Overtime that should mean more funding for transportation, hospitals, libraries, local police, fire stations and K-12 education which is a win for them.

Constitutional Amendment C – Conduct of Charitable Gaming (Passes with 55% or more of the vote)

Nonprofit organizations are always looking for innovative ideas to raise funds for their cause. One of the ways many nonprofits manage to due this is through obtaining bingo-raffle licenses. Before the approval of Amendment C nonprofit organizations would have to operate in Colorado for 5 years before applying for a bingo-raffle license.  This Amendment reduces the amount of time nonprofit organizations must operate in Colorado down to 3 years before and then they can apply for a bingo-raffle license. This is a win for nonprofit organizations in the state especially new ones.

Constitutional Amendment 76 – Citizenship Qualification of Voters (Passes with 55% or more of the vote)

Before this Amendment, the Colorado Constitution did not specify how old one must be to participate in Colorado elections. While one must be 18 to vote in the general presidential elections 17-year-olds turning 18 by the time the general election came around could vote in their respective primary. However, with the passage of this Amendment 17-year-olds effectively lose their right to vote in primaries.

Constitutional Amendment 77 – Local Voter Approval of Casino Bet Limits and Games in Black Hawk, Central city, and cripple Creek (Passes with a majority of the vote)

An approval of this amendment means a win for Community Colleges and Casinos. This amendment removes casino bet limits and approves new casino games that will help fund community colleges in the state. This is also an overall benefit for the economy in that it should draw more people to our Casino towns of Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek and in turn increase the amount of money these towns can generate. The idea is that overtime and further down the road this will allow for these towns to compete with some other States that have large casino towns like Nevada.  

Proposition 113 – Adopt agreement to Elect U.S. President by National Popular Vote (Passes with a majority of the vote)

As the electoral college continues to be scrutinized states throughout the nation have acted and taken things into their own hands. Colorado will join Vermont, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, California, New York, DC and some other states that total 196 electoral college votes  in an agreement to elect the President of the United States by national popular vote effectively nullifying Colorado’s 9 electoral college votes and even nullifying Colorado’s popular vote. This is win for those that believe every vote in every state should matter and for those that want to see the electoral college abolished.

Proposition 114 – Reintroduction and Management of Gray wolves to Colorado (Passes with a majority of the vote)

Gray wolves will not be reintroduced into the wild in Colorado until December 31,2023. The passage of this proposition means that Colorado Parks and Wildlife commission must come up with a plan to effectively reintroduce and manage gray wolves in Colorado west of the Continental Divide. They must also be prepared to pay fair compensation to those that lose livestock because of gray wolves. This is a win for gray wolves.

Proposition 115 – Prohibit Abortions After 22 Weeks (Passes with a majority of the vote)

This is the only ballot measure that will not pass. After year after year of Coloradans rejecting similar measures this proposition is facing a major defeat. Colorado is one of the places where an abortion can take place anytime during a pregnancy and this will continue to be the case. This a decisive win for women and there right chose.

Proposition 116 – State Income Tax Rate Reduction (Passes with a majority of the vote)

Once again Colorado’s have shown they will take a tax rate reduction when its presented to them. The current state income tax rate of 4.63% will now be 4.55%. While this may not seem like a lot to the individual its estimated that the state budget will be reduced by millions. People looking to save a little extra cash have a victory here.

Proposition 117 – Voter Approval for Certain New State Enterprises (Passes with a majority of the vote)

This proposition effectively takes some power away from the general assembly and places it back into the hands of the people. If the Colorado General Assembly creates a new state government owned business that has a fee revenue of over $100 million in its first five years than a voter approval will need to happen first.

Proposition 118 – Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (Passes with a majority of the vote)

Now that this has passed a paid family and medical leave insurance program will be created for Colorado employees. The Department of Labor and Employment will oversee this program and require employers and employees to pay a payroll premium that will fund this program. This program will begin in 2023 and individuals will be eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid family or medical leave. This is a victory for families as it creates job security and protection for those that must take leave for family or medical reasons.

Proposition EE – Increased Taxes in Nicotine Products (Passes with a majority of the vote)

While in the past Colorado has rejected tax increases on tobacco and nicotine products this year, they approved a tax increase. This will be a new revenue stream for expanding preschool programs, K-12 education, rural schools, affordable housing, eviction assistance, tobacco education, and health care. Every few years until 2027 there will be a tax increase on cigarette packs, tobacco products, and nicotine products. In 2027 the cigarette pack tax which is now $0.84 will be $2.64, tobacco products which currently have a tax of 40% of the total price of the item will be 62% of the total price of the item, and nicotine products that currently don’t have a tax will have a tax of 62% of the total price of the item.

Jarod Gray
Author: Jarod Gray