Referendum 41 and You

Last November Colorado voters passed Referendum 41, which added Article XXIX, Ethics in Government, to the Colorado Constitution.  Ostensibly this amendment regulated lobbying activities, but the language of the amendment is so broad that it includes a number of higher education activities and all employees of the state of Colorado. The most complex issue affecting us is the one University of Colorado President Hank Brown has highlighted: the receipt of a monetary recognition in excess of $50 from an individual or entity that is not your employer.

The amendment has three parts: a limitation on gifts that are not part of compensation from the state, a restriction on post-service employment by members of the general assembly and the creation of an independent ethics commission.

The most significant for you as a state employee is the $50 limitation on gifts or other things of value given to you or a family member. The amendment would allow you to be compensated for work such as making a presentation or participating on a panel. However, you could not accept a trip from a vendor to review the vendor’s product or services or an award from a professional organization if the value exceeded $50.

The Attorney General’s response to the questions President Brown asked concerning higher education and the amendment are online. As you can see, there are a number of issues still to be determined by the courts, the ethics commission or the voters.

I would be happy to visit further on the amendment. Please feel free to call 351-2399 or e-mail Daniel R. Satriana, Jr.

Daniel R. Satriana, Jr.
General Counsel