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‘Health Care Choice’ Initiative Gets OK From Colo. Supreme Court

LAW WEEK COLORADO

DENVER — An initiative aimed at blocking the effects of the federal health care reform bill in Colorado is one step closer to making it on November’s ballot. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday that proposed initiative 45, which would prohibit state law from requiring people to buy health insurance, meets the state’s single subject requirement for ballot initiatives.

The court, in its 5-2 decision, also held that the proposed initiative’s title, “Right to health care choice,” is neither misleading nor an impermissible slogan.

Dissenting, in part, were Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey and Justice Alex Martinez, who each wrote separate opinions. Mullarkey contended the title needed to be changed because “right to health care choice” is a slogan. She pointed to several of the court’s previous opinions which barred the phrases “freedom to work,” “consumer protection” and “open government” on the grounds that those were slogans.

The initiative, backed by Jon Caldara of the conservative Independence Institute, still needs to get petition signatures before it can be voted on.

Deputy Attorney General Maurie Knaizer represented the State Title Board. Mark Grueskin of Isaacson Rosenbaum represented the parties challenging the initiative.

In the Matter of the Title, Ballot Title and Submission Clause for the 2009-2010 #45

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