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The public face of Amendment 74 was the Colorado Farm Bureau but the real power behind it was the oil and gas industry. Gazette file photo.

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While Colorado voters said yes to a host of Democratic candidates Tuesday night, they said no to most of the 13 amendments and propositions on the ballot, including the controversial Amendment 74. That measure, which would have required state or local governments to reimburse property owners when new regulations have the effect of lowering property values, was defeated 1,012,723 to 876,373. 

Amendment 74 was opposed by the Colorado Municipal League, Colorado Counties Inc., Club 20, Action 22, and a host of other civic organizations. A committee formed to oppose the measure, Save Our Neighborhoods, raised $6.5 million, mostly from groups like Conservation Colorado and the League of Conservation Voters. Its public face was the Colorado Farm Bureau but the real power behind it was the oil and gas industry, which put $11 million into the Committee for Colorado’s Shared Heritage. The measure’s proponents were criticized for mailers that falsely claim the Colorado Springs Gazette editorial board still endorses the measure.

Aaron Bly heads Save Our Neighborhoods and told Colorado Politics Tuesday night that “we are thrilled that Coloradans saw through the deception” of the ballot measure. “We were all worried about the simplicity of the language — it would have added only six words to the Constitution — but we were ecstatic that we were able to get our message out there.” Bly pointed to the coalition of groups that don’t normally work together, as well as bipartisan opposition led by Republicans like Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and Democrats like Gov. John Hickenlooper.

The ballot measure was funded by the oil and gas industry with more than $11 million in contributions. Many political analysts saw the oil and gas industry's support of the initiative as a hedge against another controversial measure, Proposition 112, which would have increased setbacks for oil and gas drilling. If that measure passed, Amendment 74 could have insulated the industry from some of the losses incurred because of the setbacks. But Proposition 112 also failed at the ballot box. 

Chief legislative reporter

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