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Colorado Personhood Falls Again, As Does Gambling For Schools, Open Meetings Passes

Stephanie Paige Ogburn
A ballot box outside the Denver Museum of Science and Nature.

Third time wasn't the charm for a constitutional amendment on personhood in Colorado.

There were four measures on the ballot this year, the only one that passed this election season was Proposition 104, a measure expanding open meetings.

The goal of Proposition 104, which passed with 70 percent in favor, is to shine a light on collective bargaining or employment contract negotiations in the education sector, by requiring meetings on such negotiations to be open to the public.

Amendment 67, often called the personhood amendment, lost 64 to 36 percent, according to results from the Colorado Secretary of State's office at 8:30 p.m. This was the third ballot attempt since 2008 to change a definition of an unborn person and child.

This amendment took a slightly different approach from past efforts, seeking to change the state's criminal code and wrongful death act. The term "unborn human beings" would have been added to the definition of a person or child.

Those supporting the act cited the case of a pregnant mother whose unborn son died after she was hit in a car crash. The drunken driver responsible could not be charged for the unborn child's death, since he was not considered a person.

But opponents of the act worried it could criminalize miscarriages and make it hard for doctors to treat women with tubal pregnancies.

"We’re thrilled that the voters of Colorado were able to, once again, see through the very deceptive ballot language of Amendment 67 and reject it outright,” Fofi Mendez, campaign director of the Vote NO 67 Campaign, said in a statement.

Amendment 68 lost significantly, 72 to 27 percent, according to early results from the Colorado Secretary of State's office. The measure would have amended the state constitution, allowing horse race tracks in Arapahoe, Mesa, and Pueblo counties to offer expanded gambling options, such as card games like poker and blackjack, as well as slot machines, roulette, and craps.

About a third of the revenue from these activities would go to a K-12 education fund, whose cash would be distributed to public and charter schools in the state. A non-partisan analysis found the initiative could generate $114 million a year for public and charter schools.

"A vigorous campaign was waged on both sides; now Colorado voters have spoken and with their votes have said that they prefer the status quo," said Monica McCafferty, spokesperson for Coloradans for Better Schools, which supported the amendment, in a statement.

Those opposed to the measure said it was not the right way to fund schools and the revenue would be unpredictable. They prefer school funding come from property taxes and the state budget.

Stephanie Paige Ogburn has been reporting from Colorado for more than five years, primarily from the Western Slope.