State Bill Colorado and Boulder’s Daily Camera report that on Tuesday, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that three state ballot initiatives opposing provisions of the federal Employee Free Choice Act may proceed under state law. The Court held that consideration Initiatives 22, 23 and 24, which would amend the Colorado Constitution to preserve the right to a secret ballot in employee representation elections, does not violate the state election law’s "single subject rule."
An AFL-CIO lobbyist, Philip Hayes, filed a challenge to the initiatives but the Court ruled that they were fair under the state law:
Hayes contends that the Initiatives contain more than a single subject in violation of article V, section 1(5.5) of the Colorado Constitution. Specifically, Hayes asserts the Initiatives seek to establish both a general right to secret ballot voting in all voting situations, and a more narrow right to secret ballot voting in employee representation elections. However, Hayes’ reading of the Initiatives focuses on one sentence and ignores the context supplied by text on either side. Upon reading the Initiatives as a whole, we conclude the Initiatives carry out only one general purpose. Thus, we hold the Initiatives do not violate the constitutional prohibition on multiple subjects.
Thus it seems the voters of Colorado may have the opportunity to vote on these initiatives in a state election, if the federal government passes a version of EFCA containing card-check provisions.
As we noted earlier this year, the many efforts underway to invalidate EFCA provisions by state constitutional amendment will face many legal hurdles — not the least of all, federal preemption. But at least one such effort, in Colorado, appears to have cleared the first significant challenges inside the state.