Governor Bill Owens says the Colorado Supreme Court acted irresponsibly when it voted 4-2 to keep an immigration measure off the November ballot. Owens says if the court does not reconsider its decision, he'll call for a special session. The initiative would have kept illegal immigrants in Colorado from receiving non-emergency state services, but the court says the measure wasn't in line with the state constitution because it addressed more than one topic. Governor Owens disagrees, saying it's a decision voters need the opportunity to make.
"Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the question," said Owens, "the people of Colorado should have had an opportunity to vote."
If Owens follows through with a special session, it will be costly. However to State Representative Dave Schulteis, it would be tax dollars well spent.
"This is a key issue," said Schulteis. "If we can get this resolved, we'll save hundreds of millions of dollars for the tax payers."
Owens called the court's decision arrogant. Schulteis called it a political move. However others including former Denver mayor Federico Pena called the decision appropriate, saying the bill was too vague in defining which non-emergency state services illegal immigrants would be denied.
"If you're a snow plow operator, which homes do you plow in front of, and which homes do you not?" Said Pena. "If you're a recreation center director and some young kid comes in and wants to use the recreation center, do you ask for an ID and then do you verify the authenticity of that ID?"
Still, Schulteis says the bill was written as clearly as it could have been.
"It's one issue, one really clear issue, and one voters really want passed."
Or at least the opportunity to do so. In a statement released Tuesday night by Defend Colorado Now, the group behind the proposed the measure, members said if the Colorado Supreme Court refuses to reconsider their decision and the governor calls a special session, they will call on legislators from both parties to pass a measure with the same effect as their original initiative.