Ballot Proposals: Making an informed vote

To help you better make an informed vote, here’s a breakdown of all the ballot proposals that will appear on your ballot this year.

Denver Catholic Staff
Amendment A

Amendment A would repeal a constitutional exception on the ban of slavery that allowed for slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime. In other words, in Colorado’s constitution, there is still a provision that keeps slavery legal in certain circumstances. This is one of two ballot proposals Colorado’s bishops have taken an official stance on, which is to vote “yes” on Amendment A, effectively removing that exception and outlawing slavery in all circumstances.

Amendment V

Amendment V would lower the required age to serve in the Colorado General Assembly as a representative or senator from age 25 to 21. It also adds female pronouns to section 4 of article V of the Colorado Constitution.

Amendment W

The Colorado Constitution currently requires county clerks to write separate retention questions on the ballot for each judge or justice standing for retention. Amendment W would change that language so that county clerks can write a single ballot question for each level of courts, which would shorten the ballot.

Amendment X

Amendment X would remove the definition of “industrial hemp” from the Colorado Constitution and instead require that industrial hemp have the same definition as in federal law. Federal law does not allow states to define industrial hemp as of May 2018. Industrial hemp is comprised of parts of the cannabis sativa plant containing low levels of THC and is used for a variety of products. This amendment was designed to provide the state legislature with more flexibility in regulating industrial hemp.

Amendment Y

Amendment Y would create a 12-member independent congressional redistricting commission that would be responsible for redistricting Colorado’s seven U.S. House districts. The commission would include four members from the state’s largest political party, four from the state’s second largest political party, and four that are not affiliated with any political party. The final map would require the approval from eight of the 12 members, including at least two members that are not affiliated with a political party, as well as the Colorado Supreme Court. The amendment also requires that the districts be competitive, meaning they have a reasonable potential to change parties once every 10 years.

Amendment Z

Amendment Z mirrors Amendment Y, except applies it to state legislative redistricting. The independent state legislative redistricting commission would be subject to the same processes and approvals as outlined in Amendment Y.

Amendment 73

Amendment 73 is a ballot initiative that would establish a tax bracket system rather than a flat tax rate and raise taxes for individuals earning more than $150,000 per year, raise the corporate income tax rate, and create the Quality Public Education Fund. The Quality Public Education Fund would fund preschool through 12th-grade public education and increase base per-pupil funding to $7,300 and increase funding for the following programs: special education, English language proficiency, gifted and talented, and preschool.

Amendment 74

Amendment 74 is a ballot initiative that would require property owners to be compensated for any reduction in property value caused by state laws or regulations. It was submitted as a response to proposed setback requirements for new oil and gas development (see: Proposition 112). While Colorado law already compensated property owners for any property that was taken or damaged, this amendment would ensure property owners are compensated if the value of the property is reduced because of government law or regulation.

Amendment 75

Amendment 75 would mandate that if any candidate for state office directs (by loan or contribution) more than one million dollars in support of his or her own campaign (or candidate committee), then every candidate for the same office in the same primary or general election may be entitled to accept five times the aggregate amount of campaign contributions normally allowed.

Proposition 109

Proposition 109 proposes authorizing $3.5 billion in bonds to fund statewide transportation projects, including bridge expansion, construction, maintenance and repairs, and requires that the state repay the debt from the state budget without raising taxes.

Proposition 110

Proposition 110 would authorize CDOT to issue bonds up to $6 billion to fund transportation to be repaid through a sales tax increase with a maximum repayment cost of $9.4 billion. It would increase the state sales and use tax rate from 2.9 percent to 3.52 percent for 20 years starting Jan. 1, 2019. Revenue generated from the increased sales tax would be allocated to three different funds and be spent on bond repayment, state transportation funding such as highway construction and maintenance, municipal and country transportation projects, and mass transit and paths for walking and biking to reduce vehicle usage.

Proposition 111

Proposition 111 is an initiative that would reduce the annual intern rate on payday loans to a yearly rate of 36 percent and eliminate all other finance charges and fees associated with payday lending. The bishops of Colorado recommend voting “yes” on Proposition 111.

Proposition 112

Proposition 112 is an initiative that would mandate new oil and gas development projects, including fracking, be a minimum distance of 2,500 feet from occupied buildings such as homes, schools, hospitals and other areas designated as vulnerable, which is five times the distance of what’s currently required. This would effectively ban oil and natural gas development in Colorado, and it’s highly likely that its passage would cost tens of thousands of jobs, both inside and outside of the oil and natural gas industry, which would have a negative effect on the economy.

Know your candidates

There are several Church-approved online resources at your disposal to better educate yourself on the gubernatorial candidates and where they stand on issues.

Colorado Republican Party

National Republican Party

Colorado Democrat Party

National Democrat Party

Colorado Family Action Voter Guide

Faithful Citizenship 

COMING UP: Five Hispanic-American saints perhaps you didn’t know

Sign up for a digital subscription to Denver Catholic!

The American continent has had its share of saints in the last five centuries. People will find St. Juan Diego, St. Rose of Lima or St. Martin de Porres among the saints who enjoy greater popular devotion. Yet September, named Hispanic Heritage Month, invites a deeper reflection on the lives of lesser-known saints who have deeply impacted different Latin-American countries through their Catholic faith and work, and whose example has the power to impact people anywhere around the world. Here are just a few perhaps you didn’t know.

St. Toribio de Mogrovejo
1538-1606
Peru

Born in Valladolid, Spain, Toribio was a pious young man and an outstanding law student. As a professor, his great reputation reached the ears of King Philip II, who eventually nominated him for the vacant Archdiocese of Lima, Peru, even though Toribio was not even a priest. The Pope accepted the king’s request despite the future saint’s protests. So, before the formal announcement, he was ordained a priest, and a few months later, a bishop. He walked across his archdiocese evangelizing the natives and is said to have baptized nearly half a million people, including St. Rose of Lima and St. Martin de Porres. He learned the local dialects, produced a trilingual catechism, fought for the rights of the natives, and made evangelization a major theme of his episcopacy. Moreover, he worked devotedly for an archdiocesan reform after realizing that diocesan priests were involved in impurities and scandals. He predicted the date and hour of his death and is buried in the cathedral of Lima, Peru.

St. Mariana of Jesus Paredes
1618-1645
Ecuador

St. Mariana was born in Quito, modern-day Ecuador, and not only became the country’s first saint, but was also declared a national heroine by the Republic of Ecuador. As a little girl, Mariana showed a profound love for God and practiced long hours of prayer and mortification. She tried joining a religious order on two occasions, but various circumstances would not permit it. This led Mariana to realize that God was calling her to holiness in the world. She built a room next to her sister’s house and devoted herself to prayer and penance, living miraculously only off the Eucharist. She was known to possess the gifts of counsel and prophecy. In 1645, earthquakes and epidemics broke out in Quito, and she offered her life and sufferings for their end. They stopped after she made her offering. On the day of her death, a lily is said to have bloomed from the blood that was drawn out and poured in a flowerpot, earning her the title of “The Lily of Quito.”

St. Theresa of Los Andes
1900-1920
Chile

St. Theresa of Jesus of Los Andes was Chile’s first saint and the first Discalced Carmelite to be canonized outside of Europe. Born as Juana, the future saint was known to struggle with her temperament as a child. She was proud, selfish and stubborn. She became deeply attracted to God at the age six, and her extraordinary intelligence allowed her to understand the seriousness of receiving First Communion. Juana changed her life and became a completely different person by the age of 10, practicing mortification and deep prayer. At age 14, she decided to become a Discalced Carmelite and received the name of Theresa of Jesus. Deeply in love with Christ, the young and humble religious told her confessor that Jesus told her she would die soon, something she accepted with joy and faith. Shortly thereafter, Theresa contracted typhus and died at the age of 19. Although she was 6 months short of finishing her novitiate, she was able to profess vows “in danger of death.” Around 100,000 pilgrims visit her shrine in Los Andes annually.

St. Laura Montoya
1874-1949
Colombia

After Laura’s father died in war when she was only a child, she was forced to live with different family members in a state of poverty. This reality kept her from receiving formal education during her childhood. What no one expected is that one day she would become Colombia’s first saint. Her aunt enrolled her in a school at the age of 16, so she would become a teacher and make a living for herself. She learned quickly and became a great writer, educator and leader. She was a pious woman and wished to devote herself to the evangelization of the natives. As she prepared to write Pope Pius X for help, she received the pope’s new Encyclical Lacrymabili Statu, on the deplorable condition of Indians in America. Laura saw it as a confirmation from God and founded the Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart and St. Catherine of Siena, working for the evangelization of natives and fighting or their behalf to be seen as children of God.

St. Manuel Morales
1898-1926
Mexico

Manuel was a layman and one of many martyrs from Mexico’s Cristero War in the 1920s. He joined the seminary as a teen but had to abandon this dream in order to support his family financially. He became a baker, married and had three children. This change, however, did not prevent him from bearing witness to the faith publicly. He became the president of the National League for the Defense of Religious Liberty, which was being threatened by the administration of President Plutarco Elías Calles. Morales and two other leaders from the organization were taken prisoners as they discussed how to free a friend priest from imprisonment through legal means. They were beaten, tortured and then killed for not renouncing to their faith. Before the firing squad, the priest begged the soldiers to forgive Morales because he had a family. Morales responded, “I am dying for God, and God will take care of my children.” His last words were, “Long live Christ the King and Our Lady of Guadalupe!”