Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lawsuits Attack Amendment 54

Two lawsuits challenging whether Amendment 54 is consistent with the U.S. Constitution were filed in Denver District Court Wednesday, according to reports in the Denver Business Journal and Denver Post.

The two lawsuits were filed by unions representing teachers and firefighters and a group of business and non-profit leaders.

Amendment 54, which was approved in November with 51 percent of the vote, forbids holders of no-bid contracts with any level of government in the state from making campaign contributions.

The change to the state constitution applies to collective bargaining organizations that represent public employees. The ban on campaign contributions applies when an entity or individual has a no-bid contract worth more than $100,000.

Among the parties challenging Amendment 54 are The Children's Hospital, the University of Denver, Aurora's firefighters union and the union representing Douglas County teachers.

The union complaint alleges that Amendment 54 violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The business and non-profit institution and leadership complaint also argues that the state constitutional amendment violates the freedom of speech clause of the U.S. Constitution.