Issues from 1972
October 16, 2006
By Jerry Kopel
Fourteen ballot issues? Pessimists are certain voters will throw up their
hands and vote "no" on everything. Optimists believe voters will,
in general, make common sense decisions.
I agree with the optimists although not everything "good" will pass and
not everything "bad" will lose. Let's look at the 12 issues on the 1972
ballot and how they turned out. Only persons 50 and older will likely
remember the 1972 election issues.
No 1 and No. 6 dealt with sweepstakes and lotteries. On No. 1, a "yes"
vote would permit the Colorado Racing Commission to conduct one or two
sweepstake races per year. Proceeds, after administrative expenses, would
be used for state and local parks and recreation purposes. Defeated
408,704 to 417,149.
(A later sweepstakes statute became law only to the thrown out by the
state Supreme Court as violating the constitution. In 1980, voters added
lotteries dependent on legislative decisions, to the state constitution.)
No. 6. A :yes" vote would grant an exclusive 10-year license to a private
corporation to operate not less than six, nor more than 60 lotteries per
year under state supervision; one lottery per year to be held for
charitable purposes; proceeds for the rest to be divided as follows: 30
percent to the private corporation, 40 percent to prizes, 30 percent to
the state general fund. Defeated 161,281 to 647,817.
No. 2. Student loans. A "yes" vote would permit the legislature to
establish a loan program for students in educational institutions. Passed
443,660 to 375,948.
No. 3. Equality of the Sexes. A "yes" vote would add to Article 2 of the
state constitution: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied
or abridged by the state of Colorado or any of its political subdivisions
on account of sex." Passed 513,415 to 295,254.
This amendment began in the legislature as being applied everyone. But
private discrimination was eliminated from the measure before it was put
on the ballot.
No. 4. Higher Education: A "yes" vote would place all state colleges
and universities on equal constitutional basis; increase the number of
Regents of the University of Colorado from 6 to 9; remove the CU president
as ex officio member of the board. Passed 418,825 to 386,645.
No. 5. Salary Increases: A "yes" vote would allow the legislature to
increase or decrease the salaries of certain state and county officers,
other than state legislators, during their term of office; allow the
appointment, rather than election of county coroners and surveyors; allow
abolition of the county school superintendents and surveyors. Defeated
223,678 to 571,083.
No. 7 and 12. Property taxes. A "yes" vote for No. 7 would limit property
tax levy to one and one half percent of actual value of property except as
permitted by a vote of qualified electors. Defeated 192,913 to 627,007.
No. 12 would prohibit taxes on property from being used to pay for
schools; limit property tax levy to one and one-half percent of actual
property value; create a State Tax Evaluation Commission for uniform
assessment on real property; replace the property tax (for schools) with
severance tax, a graduated corporation income tax, a progressive graduated
income tax on earnings, and sales and service tax. Defeated 167,882 to
No. 8. State funding of Olympics: Prohibited the state of Colorado from
raising funds or aiding, directly or indirectly, the funding of the 1976
Winter Olympic Games in Colorado,. Passed 514,228 to 350,964. (This
provided a boost for Dick Lamm's election in 1974 as governor.")
No. 9. Lobbyists, Open Meetings, Public Official Disclosures: Would
require public officials to disclose their financial interests, require
lobbyists to file periodic statements indicating amount and sources of
income and expenditures; require open public meetings of all state policy
and rule-making bodies. Passed 491,073 to 325,819.
No. 10. Public Consumer Counsel: Would create a Public Utility Consumer
Counsel to protect interests of consumers of utility services; require
utilities to disclose specific information on earnings, investments,
large stockholders, etc. Defeated 350,264 to 468,154.
No. 11. No-fault Insurance: Would establish a system of compulsory
insurance and compensation regardless of fault for victims of automobile
accidents; require owners of cars to purchase insurance to provide (1)
liability protections, (2) coverage for medical expenses and (3) lost
earnings to be paid to owners regardless of fault in an accident. If
medical expenses exceeded $2,000, the act would not apply. Defeated
208,155 to 595,887.
A form of No. 11 did later become a statute, only to be repealed in recent
Putting No. 1 and No. 6 (lotteries) and No. 7 and No. 12 (property taxes)
together, there were five wins and five defeats in 1972. Perhaps we will
do as well in 2006.
(Jerry Kopel served 22 years in the Colorado House