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Ballot Battle Ends in a Truce

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May 8, 2008

Denver, CO - Voters in Colorado will be spared an extra dose of election commercials this year, after ten competing initiatives were withdrawn from the ballot. The Colorado Trial Lawyers Association had filed nine of the ballot initiatives last month. The measures would have regulated earnings for some professionals, such as CEOs and realtors, and extended consumer rights in certain instances, including medical malpractice cases and claims against homebuilders.

John Sadwith, executive director of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, says those initiatives were filed in response to another initiative that his group says would have singled out attorneys and unfairly limited their fees.

"This would have set a terrible precedent, such that the government could have regulated any right to private contract, which would not have been in the best interests of consumers."

After negotiations between the trial lawyers and a group made up largely of homebuilders, both parties agreed Tuesday to withdraw all of the ballot measures.

Sadwith believes the real winners are the voters who won't be inundated with mail and commercials from supporters on both sides of the initiatives.

"The electorate can sit back and reflect on more important issues such as education, the economy, health care."

Sadwith hopes the successful negotiation to withdraw the initiatives might set an example for other warring interests.

"Maybe business and labor could try to get back together and have a discourse on what is best for the state of Colorado, as opposed to fighting over initiatives."

Colorado is one of 24 states that allows the initiatives process.

Eric Mack/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - CO