Will Wilson is a former GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: email@example.com
In the legislative Man Bites Dog story of the day, Colorado state legislators are examining bills that would make it harder for voters to change the state's constitution. As it stands, Colorado allows a constitutional amendment after a relatively easy petition-initiative process that has made for 23 amendments in the last decade alone [insert joke about French periodicals].
Attorney General John Suthers says (rightly, to my mind) that the constitution is for "general principles that govern sovereignty." Stability is the game when it comes to constitutions. Add in voters who might sometimes take a short-sighted view of the long-term effects, and easy amendments can make a mess.
The catalyst for the legislative shift is a recently passed ethics amendment that is chafing state employees. So the legislators are offering a popular referendum to stiffen the constitution while the iron is hot. Of course, such a change would necessarily make the legislature itself stronger. Hard to tell which is pricklier: a shapeshifting constitution or legislators giving themselves more power?
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.