Endorsement: Vote yes on Amendments D, E and F

Editor’s note: This represents the opinion of The Denver Post editorial board, which is separate from the paper’s news operation. Read more endorsements here

Colorado lawmakers sent three constitutional amendments to voters this year, and we recommend voters mark “yes” on all three. All three questions would amend the state’s Constitution, so they require 55% of voter approval to become law instead of a simple majority.

Amendment D

Just as Colorado received a new U.S. House district this year, the state’s population growth also has us poised to add an additional judicial district – this one splitting the 18th Judicial District into two and creating the new 23rd Judicial District.

Lawmakers approved the split as part of a bipartisan bill in 2020 that received only three “no” votes, and then in 2022 approved a ballot question to ask voters to change and streamline how judges should be appointed to the new district with only two “no” votes.

Just a brief aside – it’s nice to see that Colorado’s government can still function to bring workable solutions to real problems like the 18th Judicial District serving more than a million people across a diverse district that had urban cities like Aurora, suburban subdivisions like Highlands Ranch and rural towns like Limon. The split leaves Arapahoe County in the 18th district and puts Douglas, Lincoln, and Elbert counties in the new 23rd district.

Amendment D would require the governor to reassign judges from the 18th district to the 23rd district by Nov. 30, 2024. Judges would be required to live in the district they represent and would stand for retention elections at regular intervals after their reappointment, like all other judges.

Lawmakers have said that without Amendment D, there is no clear process in the law to aid an orderly transition of judges, and an orderly transition is essential to prevent legal challenges over whether a judge is rightfully seated to oversee a case.

Amendment E

Colorado seniors over the age of 65 who have lived in the same home for 10 years and veterans with disabilities receive a partial reduction in their property taxes via the Homestead Tax Exemption. Amendment E would extend that reduction in property taxes to the spouses of service members who died in the line of duty or from a service-related injury or illness.

The tax break exempts 50% of the taxes imposed on the first $200,000 of assessed value.

This is a small thing we can do for the distinguished few who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country and lost a spouse who volunteered to serve this country in the military. Please vote yes.

Amendment F

As the Denver Post said in 2020, we support the modernization of the bingo and raffle laws in Colorado to assist nonprofits in their fundraising efforts. We like that Amendment F still requires that nonprofits exist for at least three years before they can engage in gambling fundraisers, and we appreciate the difficulty of running a large bingo or raffle does require a paid staff member.

We urge nonprofits to police their own and report any sham 501(c)3 groups (or any other of the myriad federal tax-exempt designations) that pop up trying to profit off an operation that this state has clearly said can only be run for the benefit of charity, especially after the limits on employee salaries is lifted in 2024.

But in general, we support loosening regulations around these charitable games.

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