The Colorado Supreme Court has said a ballot initiative to repeal the Taxpayer Bill of Rights is written as simply as possible, so it meets the state Constitution’s single-subject requirement. The decision clears the way for the initiative to move forward.
The initiative is two short sentences: “Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Colorado: Section 1. In the constitution of the state of Colorado, repeal section 20 of article X.” The state Title Board refused to set a title on the basis the ballot question doesn’t constitute a single subject, a requirement in Colorado’s Constitution. The board denied a rehearing. As representatives of the initiative’s proponents, Carol Hedges and Steve Briggs petitioned the Supreme Court to review the Title Board’s decision.
“The initiative could not be written more simply or directly,” wrote Justice Richard Gabriel in the opinion for In re Ballot Title #3. “It essentially asks voters a single question: should TABOR be repealed in full?”
The court found the initiative meets all the Constitution’s single-subject requirements: It has only one general objective; it doesn’t put incongruous subjects in one measure; and the subject matter is connected; and the initiative doesn’t appear to contain hidden information intended to surprise or trick voters into voting a particular way.
The opinion clarified the court is not making an exception to the single-subject rule for repeal ballot questions. “Rather, as our above analysis demonstrates, we are merely applying settled principles of our single-subject jurisprudence to the initiative now before us.”