What the 2018 midterm outcome could mean for higher ed
Breaking down education-related ballot initiatives that passed and failed – and the potential impact on current and future Roadrunners.
November 19, 2018
Several education and education-related amendments and initiatives were put to voters this midterm. See how voters responded and how election results could affect Metropolitan State University of Denver students.
Amendments that passed
Otherwise known as Prosperity Denver, Initiative 300 passed by a margin of less than 3 percent, creating a dedicated funding stream to help Denver residents ages 18-25 attend accredited public or nonprofit two- or four-year colleges, universities, community colleges or technical schools. The initiative seeks to increase degree attainment and strengthen career opportunities and the emerging workforce.
Voters approved the proposed 0.08-percentage-point sales-tax increase, or a little less than a penny on every $10, which is anticipated to generate more than $10 million annually. The initiative will reimburse nonprofit organizations that are the originators of scholarships for students who meet certain measures for success.
“Providing greater access to higher education helps transform individual lives,” said MSU Denver President Janine Davidson, Ph.D. “With a great education, students will be the engine that drives our workforce and will serve as the next generation of leaders for our city.”
Amendments Y and Z
Complementary Amendments Y and Z each passed with more than 70 percent voter support.
Amendment Y proposed congressional redistricting-related changes to the Colorado Constitution to create the Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission; amend and approve congressional-district maps drawn by nonpartisan legislative staff; and establish and prioritize the criteria that the commission must use for adopting the state’s U.S. congressional-district map.
Amendment Z proposed a legislative-redistricting constitutional amendment to replace the Colorado Reapportionment Commission with the Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission, and establish new requirements for transparency and ethics.
Proponents primarily supported Amendments Y and Z for limiting partisan politics in congressional and legislative redistricting, making the redistricting process fairer, more ordered, more public and more transparent. Opponents countered that the complex amendments would take accountability out of the redistricting process, outlining criteria that would be difficult to apply objectively.
“There is no direct higher-ed connection here, but our students should know that voting is part of their process — and ensuring that we have fair and honest representation is important,” said Tyler Mounsey, director of government affairs for MSU Denver.
Amendments that failed
Colorado voters rejected Amendment 73, which would have established a graduated income-tax-bracket system, rather than a flat income tax, and raise income taxes on individuals who make more than $150,000 annually. Those taxes would have been funneled into the Quality Public Education fund to increase funding for preschool-through-12th grade (P-12) public education.
Amendment V, which proposed amending the Colorado Constitution to lower the age requirement for serving in the state legislature from 25 to 21 — potentially opening the door to greater political participation and engagement for more Roadrunners — also failed, with 65 percent opposed and 35 percent in favor.