Election: Food labels, gambling among state ballot measures rejected by voters
DENVER — Colorado ballots frequently are stacked with ballot measures that can change government as dramatically as any elected official. Yesterday’s midterm election was no exception.
Voters rejected a proposal to add “unborn human beings” to the state’s criminal code, a measure that some feared could ban abortion.
The measure was the third on Colorado ballots in recent years seeking to grant “personhood” to the unborn. The latest proposal asked voters about adding unborn children to criminal code as a way to strengthen protections for pregnant women.
Opponents countered that because Amendment 67 did not define the term “unborn human being,” it could have been interpreted to ban abortions or some forms of birth control and fertility treatments. They said Colorado’s criminal code already contains enhanced penalties for crimes against pregnant women.
Supporters insisted the measure would not have banned abortions unless abortions were deemed a crime.
OPEN SCHOOL NEGOTIATIONS
Colorado voted to require that school board negotiations with unions be open to the public.
Proposition 104 requires school boards to allow the public to see negotiations on collective bargaining agreements, or union contracts.
The measure does not apply to other governmental entities that negotiate with unions.
Only about a fourth of Colorado’s school districts have collective bargaining agreements, but those districts are larger and account for three-quarters of the state’s public-school students.
Proposition 104 allows school boards to send a representative to negotiate with education unions in private. But any final collective bargaining agreement must be voted on by the school board in a public meeting and posted online.
Voters rejected mandatory labels on many foods that have been genetically modified, known as GMOs.
Proposition 105 would have required modified foods sold in grocery stores to carry labels that say “Produced With Genetic Engineering.”
The measure would not have applied to restaurants, and it excluded meat, dairy and alcohol products.
Opponents included major food companies like PepsiCo, and they spent some $11 million to defeat the GMO labels. They said the labels would confuse shoppers and burden farmers.
Vermont is the only state to require GMO labels, though the matter is in court. Other states have approved labels conditional on neighboring states requiring them, and Oregon voters were considering a requirement Tuesday.
Voters rejected a proposal to allow casino gambling at a horse racetrack in suburban Denver.
Millions of dollars was spent on the ballot measure, which carries the promise that the taxes raised will funnel $114 million a year to public schools.
The expansion would have applied only to Arapahoe Park in Aurora to start. The campaign was supported by Rhode Island’s Twin River Worldwide Holdings, which owns the Arapahoe Park.
Opponents said the measure could hurt revenue at Colorado’s existing casinos.
Amendment 68 was the most expensive ballot measure in the nation outside California, with opponents and supporters spending more than $33 million combined.
Sixty Colorado municipalities had local ballot questions. Marijuana sales were on ballots in 17 cities, and pot taxes were on ballots in 18 cities. Eleven cities were considering higher sales taxes, and six cities were being asked about term limits. Aurora considered whether to repeal its pit bull ban.
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