At Cheney Galluzzi & Howard, we intend to spend our careers fighting for justice. We understand, however, that the fight for justice has to take place beyond just the courtroom. When we formed our law firm, we agreed we would never shy away from political issues and would instead donate time and money fighting to improve the lives of ordinary people. To that end, these are our endorsements for several ballot measures that will be voted on in Colorado in November.
Amendment T – Vote YES! Currently, the Colorado Constitution prohibits slavery or involuntary servitude in all situations except as a punishment for being convicted of a crime. Essentially, the constitution allows prisons to force prisoners to work for free. This should change. Amendment T would prohibit slavery in all instances. Tellingly, this ballot measure passed unanimously in the legislature. We agree with the Amendment T campaign slogan: No Slavery. No exceptions.
Amendment U – Vote YES! Like Amendment T, Amendment U was referred to the ballot directly from the legislature where it, too, passed unanimously. Amendment U would exempt from taxes the first $6,000.00 of financial gain earned by private citizens or companies who lease government land and then profit of it. This often occurs when individuals or companies lease agricultural land from the government. Their tax bills can be as low as $10, and the cost of collecting the tax is often more than the amount collected. This makes no sense; it is a burden to both the government and the taxpayer and it should end.
Amendment 69 – Vote YES! Amendment 69 would create a universal health care system in Colorado that would provide quality insurance to everyone in Colorado. The system would be paid for by raising taxes on income by 10%. 6.667% would be paid by employers and 3.333% would be paid for by employees. At Cheney Galluzzi & Howard, we often see many of our injured clients struggle to get treatment after being injured because they do not have health insurance. This must change. While we would love to see a universal single-payer health care nationwide, we believe this is an impossible goal until at least one individual state shows it can work. We believe Colorado, as the healthiest state in the nation, can and should lead the charge in health care reform.
Amendment 70 – Vote YES! Amendment 70 would raise the minimum wage in Colorado from $8.31 to $9.30 on January 1st, 2017. It would then increase by $0.90 each year until it hit $12.00 on January 1st, 2020. The minimum wage would then be tied to inflation. Finally, the minimum wage for employees who are “tipped” like servers and bartenders would increase to $6.28 in 2017 and then increase by $0.90 per year until 2020. At Cheney Galluzzi & Howard, we firmly believe that no individual who works 40 hours a week should live in poverty. We also take issue with companies who make large profits but pay their workers wages so low that the workers are forced supplement their income with welfare or food stamps just to survive. Finally, while the “NO on 70” campaign claims that increasing the minimum wage will cost Colorado jobs, we find little-to-no actual evidence to support those claims. Rather, minimum wage increases around the country have usually been met with economic and job growth. Because of our desire to stand up for the rights of workers, we encourage you to vote yes on Amendment 70.
Amendment 71- Vote NO! Amendment 71, also known as the “Raise the Bar” campaign, would make it harder for ballot measures to get on the ballot by requiring petitioners to collect signatures from 2% of voters in every county in Colorado. It would also require an initiative to get 55% of the vote—rather than a simple majority—in order to pass. To some, this may sound good in theory. But make no mistake that this amendment is bought and paid for by large corporations, mainly the oil and gas industry who want to make sure that a ban-on-fracking ballot measure never reaches voters. It would set such a high bar that even popular initiatives like Amendment 64 would have failed. Colorado’s ballot initiative process is not perfect, but it provides an important check on the power of our elected officials. We see no reason to mess with a system that isn’t broken.
Amendment 72 – Vote YES! Amendment 72 would raise taxes on a pack of cigarettes by $1.75. The new tax would raise roughly $315 million per year, which would go to a variety of programs including tobacco cessation and education programs, veteran’s programs, and children’s behavioral health programs. We do have concerns, as sin taxes like these are often felt mostly by the poor. That said, large taxes have also been shown to reduce the number of smokers, which is a net win for everyone. We encourage the legislature to devote a substantial amount of the new revenue to campaigns designed to reduce smoking rates in poor communities.
Proposition 106 – Vote YES! Proposition 106, also called the “death with dignity” measure, would make it legal for physicians to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients who wish to end their life. The patients would be required to have two different doctors certify that they had less than six months to live. At Cheney Galluzzi & Howard, we oppose unnecessary suffering. We respect the right of terminally ill individuals to make this incredibly personal decision after consultation with their doctor and families. Colorado should join other states like Oregon in allowing death with dignity.
Proposition 107 – Vote YES! Proposition 107 would replace Colorado’s current presidential caucus system with a presidential primary where voters would select presidential candidates by mail-in ballot rather than attending caucuses. This year, Colorado saw extremely high participation in the Democratic Party’s caucus, which caused voters at some locations to spend up to 5 hours just trying to vote. The Republican system is objectively worse, as party leaders essentially choose who to vote for. A primary system, while more expensive, is fairer and allows more people to participate in the electoral process. For those reasons, we encourage you to vote yes on Proposition 107.
Proposition 108 – Vote YES! A sister initiative to Proposition 107, Proposition 108 would allow voters registered as independents to vote in either the Democratic or Republican presidential primaries. Currently, the hundreds of thousands of registered independents have no say in who the Democrats or Republicans nominate for president. And under the current system, either the Republican or Democratic nominee for president will eventually win the election, making that selection process of the utmost importance. At Cheney Galluzzi & Howard, we believe that more voter participation is always a good thing. We encourage you to vote yes on Proposition 108.
Initiative 300 – Vote YES! This initiative is on the ballot for residents of Denver. This initiative would allow private businesses open only to those 21 or over to allow marijuana use. The businesses could allow vaporizing and edible inside the business and marijuana smoking outside on patios as long as that use is not visible to general public. This common sense measure would also require businesses wishing to allow marijuana usage to get approval from neighborhood organizations. At Cheney Galluzzi & Howard, we have always believed that legalizing marijuana while simultaneously providing no place for tourists and other adults to use it legally made no sense. This law will fix that problem in a way that respects the rights of individual neighborhoods.
We encourage all persons to update their voter registration and become active in the upcoming election. Change is made by those who show up. Get out and vote!