In Colorado, the fight to elevate people's rights over corporate rights has reached the state level with an initiative to add a constitutional amendment to prevent state preemption and enshrine the rights of individuals to self-governance in their own communities.
DENVER — A proposed anti-fracking, anti-corporation initiative moved a step closer to signature-gathering Wednesday after winning a challenge before the state title board.Although the above news article characterizes the amendment as 'antifracking' and 'anticorporate', the real intent of the grassroots proponents is far more inclusive and comprehensive than that according to the Colorado Community Rights Network which is the umbrella organization advancing ballot measure #75, the Colorado Community Rights Amendment, and helping local communities create their own protections against corporate activities that interfere with the rights of local communities of individuals.
The three-member board rejected two motions for rehearing contending that the Colorado Community Rights Amendment violated the single-subject rule, which means the measure’s sponsors may soon begin circulating petitions —unless another challenge is filed before the Supreme Court.
“Victory again! Secretary of State unanimously reaffirms decision Colorado Community Rights Amendment meets requirements,” said a post on the Facebook page Colorado Community Rights Network. “Corporations have only one more hope, taking the amendment into the Colorado Supreme Court, before we head to signature gathering!”
The post adds, “We will know if they resort to that in five days. Community rights over corporate power!!!”
The initiative gives towns, cities and counties the authority to pass measures that supersede federal and state law, which would allow localities to ban hydraulic fracturing and even corporate activity within their borders.
~ The Colorado Observer
The intent of this historic initiative is to preserve the people’s right to local self-government, a right that empowers local communities to protect their fundamental rights free of corporate interference and state preemption.Four Coloradan communities have voted upon and enacted local ordinances asserting their Constitutional rights to self governance by blocking fracking. These small towns are now being sued by deep-pocketed corporations who claim that their rights to extract resources trump the people's rights to protect their own health, safety and welfare.
The Colorado Community Rights Network supports the view that our fundamental rights are universal, and that the current legal framework that favors corporations over people and communities threatens the essence of democracy. Ballot initiative #75 addresses the inherent problems of corporate centered law. It is part of a larger strategy to bring full democratic rights and protections to communities across Colorado.
Ballot measure #75, the Colorado Community Rights Amendment, is a measure that is inclusive. It does not limit a community’s authority to any one particular industry or corporation. It is also comprehensive. It seeks to expand the protection of fundamental rights at a community level, however a particular community chooses to define those fundamental rights. These fundamental rights can be of an environmental, economic, or social nature.
Ballot initiative #75, the Colorado Community Rights Amendment would stop these Goliath corporations from suing small David communities who act for their own health, safety, and welfare. In Colorado, Dillon's Rule may come into play. This 1868 court decision holds the state as a "parent" over the "child" municipality which allows the state to preempt local government from making certain laws without express permission. This concept has been used in Oregon (which does not actually have the Dillon Rule) when the legislature included an ALEC model bill (popularly known as "Oregon's Monsanto Protection Act" which banned local governments from making agricultural laws) in order to bribe the Republican legislators into finally passing a budget.
Americans have seen the rights of corporations elevated over their own individual rights by the highest court in the land. We watch as state governments appear helpless or unwilling to assist communities who suffer assaults to their health, safety and welfare by factory farming, hydraulic fracturing, genetic trespass, corporate exercise of eminent domain, and a plethora of community harms from Goliath corporations who bulldoze over the inherent constitutional guaranteed rights of flesh and blood persons to act to protect their communities.
Legislative and legal civil disobedience is now the true modern Tea Party. We cannot expect democracy to be handed down by a corrupt federal or state apparatus because it no longer exists on that level. The people need to assert democracy on a local level and drive it up the system.
Since the article linked from The Colorado Observer appears to conflate ballot measure #75, the Colorado Community Rights Amendment, with an anti-fracking amendment, I thought it only fair to quote the clarifying response from the Colorado Community Rights Network:
The Colorado Community Rights Amendment only protects communities that create laws to protect the fundamental rights. It has no jurisdiction over superficial decisions, and only concerns itself with businesses that both are viewed as a threat by communities, and that are reliant upon State force to operate within those communities. As most businesses are not viewed by people as threats to their fundamental rights, it is telling that the oil and gas industry identifies itself as one of these enterprises that cannot operate within a democratic society.Please follow below the orange petition signature for the Colorado Community Rights Amendment ballot language.
So if the concern is that ballot initiative number 75 will ban fracking across the entire state, then this would have to assume that the full state of Colorado views oil and gas development as enough of a threat to their fundamental rights as to enact laws to prohibit it in every municipality without exception. The Colorado Community Rights Network has no polling to indicate this, and where communities want hydraulic fracturing, the ballot initiative simply will not apply, as it relies upon people and local communities to decide upon action.
Again, if oil and gas development cannot function within a democratic society, it begs the question about if the corporations that conduct that development should be given higher legal authority than the people our Declaration of Independence professes to be the source of all political power and legitimacy. This is the decision that Colorado voters should be able to address.
Colorado Community Rights Amendment
Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Colorado
In the constitution of the state of Colorado, add section 32 to article II as follows:
Section 32. Right to Local Self-Government
(1) As all political power is vested in and derived from the people, and as all government of right originates from the people, the people have an inherent and inalienable right to local self-government, including in each county, city, town, and other municipality.
(2) That right shall include, without limitation:
(a) the power to enact local laws protecting health, safety, and welfare by establishing the fundamental rights of individuals, their communities, and nature, and by securing those rights using prohibitions and other means; and
(b) the power to enact local laws establishing, defining, altering, or eliminating the rights, powers, and duties of corporations and other business entities operating or seeking to operate in the community, to prevent such rights and powers from interfering with such locally-enacted fundamental rights of individuals, their communities, and nature.
(3) Local laws adopted pursuant to section (2) of this section shall not be subject to preemption by international, federal, or state laws, nor shall they be subject to limitation pursuant to section 6 of article XX of this constitution; provided that
(a) such local laws shall not restrict fundamental rights of individuals, their communities, or nature secured by the Colorado constitution, the United States constitution, or international law; and
(b) such local laws shall not weaken protections for individuals, their communities, or nature provided by state, federal, or international law.
(4) All provisions of this section are self-executing and severable.