SUMMARY for Bill 6
INTERIM COMMISSION TO STUDY FISCAL STABILITY
|Votes: View--> ||Action Taken: |
|Move Bill 6, as amended, to the Legislative Counci|
Move to amend Bill 6 to remove section 7 and remov
11:40 AM -- Summary for Bill 6 Constitution Revision Commission
Senator Heath moved Bill 6 and explained that the bill would create a concurrent resolution that would submit a change to the Colorado Constitution to the voters asking for the creation of the Fiscal Policy Constitutional Commission. Currently, the Colorado Constitution may be amended by a measure referred to the voters by the General Assembly or by an initiated measure. Bill 6 is a concurrent resolution that creates a third way to amend the constitution through the creation of a temporary fiscal policy constitutional commission.
The commission is created for the purpose of reviewing the fiscal policy in the state constitution and, if appropriate, submitting one or more measures to amend the state constitution to the voters at the 2012 general election. Nineteen members are appointed to the commission by representatives from the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of state government for a term that is just over one year long. A member of the General Assembly or a statewide officeholder is not eligible to serve on the commission. Members may only be appointed to the commission if a certain amount of money is donated to the state and deposited in a newly created cash fund for the purpose of paying the expenses of the commission. All commission meetings are open to the public. Members of the commission are only reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses incurred while performing duties related to the commission. The Office of Legislative Legal Services and Legislative Council Staff will provide staff support to assist the commission in its charge. The commission may only submit a measure to amend the state constitution, which may include more than one subject, if:
- the commission has conducted at least one meeting in each congressional district in the state;
- the measure is approved by at least 10 members of the commission; and
- the measure relates to fiscal policy.
The commission must submit a measure to the Secretary of State in order that the title board may establish a ballot title and submission clause for each measure in a manner established by the concurrent resolution. The commission may withdraw a measure from consideration as a ballot issue by notifying the Secretary of State of the withdrawal. The General Assembly must conduct public hearings on each measure that is to appear on the ballot and make a recommendation to the voters to either approve or reject the measure, but it may not change a measure. The concurrent resolution also requires a measure to be printed in the 2012 blue book and 2012 session laws.
11:48 AM -- Lunch
The committee recessed for lunch.
Senator Heath requested that Ms. Lynn talk about Bill 6 since she sat on the University of Denver panel that met in 2007 and reviewed the state constitution. She talked about the panel's make-up and the report that came out of it: Foundation of a Great State http://www.du.edu/issues/reports/2007SIPReport.pdf. She talked about the various groups the panel heard from, including elected officials. Ms. Lynne explained that the panel did not change the citizen initiative, the signature requirements, and did not request a constitutional convention.
Mr. Conway discussed the impacts and his concerns with having the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court make appointments to the commission. There was a discussion regarding the judicial appointments. Ms. Oliver Cooke asked whether the charge in Bill 6 is the same charge as the Fiscal Stability Commission and asked why the bill kicks the commission's responsibility to another commission. Senator Heath explained that the job was too big to complete in only 12 days. Senator Heath was asked to discuss the fiscal impact of the commission. Senator Heath explained that the bill includes private funding. Mr. Coors said he was concerned about private funding and people buying a seat on the commission. A discussion ensued regarding private funding. Representative Court pointed out that the bill will need approval of two thirds of the House and of the Senate. Ms. Neilson asked how it is possible to allow an exception to the single subject rule for ballot initiatives. Mr. DeCecco, Office of Legal Services drafter, explained that the bill allows an exception to the single subject rule for the commission. Ms. Boigon asked why the bill bypasses the legislature and creates a commission to initiate ballot measures instead of just allowing this to happen through an initiated measure. Senator Heath responded and Mr. Coors said he was concerned with the fact that the bill would allow 18 nonlegislative members to create fiscal policy for the state of Colorado. The members discussed the process the commission in the bill would need to go through to place measures on the ballot. The members debated whether a measure should be allowed to go directly to the ballot without signatures.
Ms. Oliver Cooke expressed her concerns with the bill, including the fact that the Long Term Fiscal Stability was charged with unwinding the fiscal issues in the constitution. She said she is strongly opposed to the bill. Mr. Conway stated that he has some issues with the bill. He talked about the bill removing citizen participation and legislative oversight. Mr. Conway said he feels the bill takes away representative government. He also said there are some unintended consequences and discussed the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court's appointments to the commission. He said he does not support the bill.
Ms. Boigon said she believes referring the fiscal policy question to the voters is good, but said she is struggling with the fact that the commission can refer measures directly to the ballot once it is created. Ms. Boigon said overall she supports the bill. Mr. Knox said he is comfortable with the amount of public input in the bill and supports the bill. Ms. Neilson said she does not support the bill for the previous reasons she mentioned. Mr. Coors said it is import for the commission to allow the citizens to make an educated decision and talked about the blue book that is distributed to voters every ballot year. He explained that by eliminating the single subject rule, citizens will have to approve a whole bucket of changes rather than one at a time. Mr. Coors said he would vote no on the bill.
Mr. White said he feels something has to be done with the fiscal mess in Colorado and that the voters have a chance to vote the commission down if it does not want it to go forward. He supports the bill. Mr. Fagan said he supports the bill. He explained that the people will decide whether they want the commission to have the power to initiate measures directly to the ballot next year if the concurrent resolution passes. Mr. Fagan explained that under the deadline in the bill, other ideas can be placed on the ballot in response to the commission's suggestions also. Ms. Lynne said the bill provides enough protection and multiple levels of review by the public. She is in support of the bill and seconded Ms. Boigon's comments. Senator Heath explained that the bill creates another means for the public to be involved and the outcome is ultimately decided by the voters.
Senator Heath said he would be prime sponsor in the Senate and Representative Ferrandino would be the prime sponsor in the House. Those who voted yes on the bill asked to be cosponsors.