News Now: Gerrymandering, Campaign Financing, and More

The leaves are changing and the weather is cooling. With fall officially upon us, here are your public-law highlights:

  • Colorado Supreme Court justice issues his first opinions. Colorado’s newest Supreme Court justice, Carlos A. Samour, Jr., has been hard at work at his new job, writing two majority opinions and one dissent. All three were criminal cases, and in all three Justice Samour voted in favor of the government.
  • Campaign-finance measure makes the ballot. But is it constitutional? The Secretary of State announced that Initiative 173, known as “Stop Buying Our Elections,” will be on the November ballot. The measure would increase contribution limits for state-level candidates whose opponents donate $1 million or more to their campaigns. But if it passes, the measure may run into a First Amendment challenge.
  • Denver campaign-finance measure gets a makeover. After extensive discussions, the Denver City Council has approved the referral of a revised ballot measure that would enact significant changes to the city’s campaign-finance rules. Voters will decide whether to lower contribution limits, impose a ban on corporate and union contributions, and institute a voluntary public-financing system providing 9:1 matching contributions of up to $50.
  • Bipartisan support for anti-gerrymandering measure. The Republican and Democratic state party chairs have both endorsed amendments to the state constitution that would establish independent commissions to draw boundaries for congressional and state-legislative districts.

Chris Jackson is a litigator at Sherman & Howard whose practice lies at the intersection of private and public law. He frequently writes and comments on appellate law, elections, and campaign finance (particularly in Colorado). Follow Chris on Twitter at @COAppeals.

©2018 Sherman & Howard L.L.C.                                                                             September 27, 2018