A look at the nine initiatives headed to the November ballot — and the 23 others that could join them

The west end of the Colorado Capitol

As most Colorado voters turn their attention from the congressional and legislative primaries that will come to a head Tuesday to the heated general-election races, the state also quietly has been amassing a spate of initiatives that could give its November ballot the girth of a Russian novel.

Legislators opted during the recently completed 2024 session to put seven measures in front of statewide voters, while the Colorado Secretary of State’s office has confirmed that two measures already have enough signatures to make the ballot as well. And campaigns are collecting signatures on 23 other potential initiatives dealing with subjects ranging from income-tax cuts to law-enforcement funding to bobcat hunting.

For many business leaders, the two most consequential questions could be Initiatives 50 and 108 from Advance Colorado and Colorado Concern — the former which has received approval for the ballot and the latter which is still in signature-collection mode. Initiative 50 would cap annual increases in property-tax revenues at 4%, while Initiative 108 would reduce residential tax-assessment rates from 7.15% to 5.7% and cut nonresidential rates from 29% to 24%.

On: Property taxes and abortion funding

The campaigns for and against those proposals already are in full swing, as demonstrated by a virtual debate held Tuesday for the Colorado Trustee Network between initiatives author Michael Fields and Sen. Chris Hansen, a leading opponent. Hansen was a sponsor of Senate Bill 233, a bipartisan law creating a 5.5% cap and cutting residential and commercial tax-assessment rates to higher levels than the initiatives to stave off what state budget writers call draconian cuts were 50 and 108 to pass — a characterization that initiative proponents dispute.

Many of the other measures have received less attention from the business community — either because of their more limited scope or because they deal with social and public-safety issues. In the spirit of full education about what may be coming to voters, however, here is a brief look at all the other initiatives that could wind up in front of Coloradans.

The only other citizen-driven measure that has been certified as having enough signatures to make the ballot is Initiative 89. That proposal would establish a right to abortion in Colorado’s constitution and end the state’s ban on public funding of abortions.

Legislatively referred initiatives

Each of the seven legislatively referred measures got placed onto the ballot in the form of passed bills or resolutions by a majority of state House and Senate members. Those are:

  • House Concurrent Resolution 23-1001, which would create a new Independent Judicial Discipline Adjudicative Board to conduct disciplinary hearings and hear appeals of informal remedial action orders from the Commission on Judicial Discipline.
  • HCR 23-1002, which would expand the Homestead property-tax exemption to veterans with disabilities rated at less than 100% but who are assessed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs as having individual unemployability status.
  • HCR 24-1002, which would make first-degree murder an offense for which defendants are ineligible for bail.
  • Senate Concurrent Resolution 24-002, which would move up deadlines for filing initiative and referendum petitions and declaration of intent for judges and justices by one week and would let nonpartisan staff publish the texts and titles of ballot measures at least 45 days before an election.
  • SCR 24-003, which would revoke the currently unenforceable provision in the Colorado constitution declaring that marriage is valid only between one man and one woman.
  • House Bill 24-1349, which would impose a 6.5% excise tax on firearms dealers and manufacturers and ammunition vendors, beginning on April 1, to fund crime-victim services, mental-health services and the School Disbursement Program Cash Fund.
  • HB 24-1436, which would allow the state to retain and spend all sports-betting tax revenue collected beyond the $29 million authorized in 2019 when voters approved Proposition DD to permit sports betting and use tax revenues for water resources.

Potential citizen initiatives

However, the state also is waiting to see if supporters of 22 ballot measures, in addition to Initiative 108, collect and submit the required number of signatures by Aug. 5. Those measures are:

  • Initiative 91, which would prohibit the trophy hunting — hunting primarily for the display of an animal’s head or other body parts rather than for the utilization of meat — of mountain lions, bobcat or lynx.
  • Initiative 112, which would delay eligibility for parole for people convicted of several serious crimes — including second-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping or first- and second-degree sexual assault — until they’ve served at least 75% of an imposed sentence.
  • Initiative 138, which would create a constitutional right for parents to direct the education of their school children and create a right of school choice for those parents and children.
  • Initiative 142, which would require that public schools inform parents if their children ask to be identified by genders other than their biological gender.
  • Initiative 144, which would allow veterinarians to practice telehealth on animals located in Colorado and would set guidelines for how such telehealth can be practiced.
  • Initiative 145, from the same proponents as Initiative 144, which would establish qualifications and registration requirements for veterinary professional associates.
  • Initiative 147, which would ban sheriffs from denying firearm permits to Colorado residents who use marijuana legally solely because of their marijuana use.
  • Initiative 157, which would create in the Department of Public Safety a $350 million Peace Officer and Support Training Fund to assist in recruiting, training and retaining officers and to create a death benefit for the spouses or children of officers killed in the line of duty.
  • Initiative 160, which specifies that only female students, based on their biological sex at birth, can participate in elementary- and secondary-school public athletics programs designated for females.
  • Initiatives 176, 178 and 180, which would lower the 4.4% state income tax to between 3.5% and 4.35%. Co-proponent Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, said he hasn’t decided yet which, if any of these initiatives or his other five proposed measures he plans to push forward.
  • Initiative 183, another Caldara proposal, which would limit the current 120-day annual regular legislative session to no more than 90 consecutive days.
  • Initiative 250, also from Caldara, would require judges to receive at least 55% of votes, rather than a simple majority of votes, in judicial-retention elections to keep their positions.
  • Initiative 251, another Caldara proposal, would require that legislatively referred ballot measures go through the same review process and procedures as citizen-led ballot measures.
  • Initiative 252, also from Caldara, would limit any voter-approved revenue change, including tax or debt increases, to be limited to four years, with continuation of such fiscal policies subject to voter re-approval every four years.
  • Initiative 287, the final Caldara proposal, would repeal legislation from 2024 that limited the scope of the Colorado Open Meetings Law as it applies to legislative proceedings.
  • Initiative 284, which would require that fees assessed for mass transit be assessed only in areas of the state served by the intended form of mass transit and be approved by a vote of the people across the state or in the political subdivision where the fees are assessed.
  • Initiative 310, which would establish open primaries involving candidates of all parties and advance the top four vote-getters to a general election in which ranked-choice voting is used to determine the winner.
  • Initiatives 201, 202 and 278 all are essentially countermeasures to Initiative 310. Initiative 201 would prohibit ranked-choice voting even in the cities that now employ it, Initiative 202 would further codify candidates’ current ability to seek nomination through the caucus and assembly process and Initiative 278 would codify primary elections and change current law to ensure that only electors affiliated with each party could cast ballots in them.