Advance Colorado v. Polis: Stop Government Compelled Speech

September 15, 2023

This federal lawsuit seeks to strike down HB 21-1321, which forces state-mandated language in the ballot title for citizen-initiated ballot measures that cut taxes. Regardless of the facts, every measure must say that it “will reduce funding for state expenditures that include but are not limited to education, health care policy and financing, and higher education.” The requirement to include this language on citizen-initiated ballot measures represents a clear example of unconstitutional compelled speech, and even worse, it requires compelled false speech. The language must be used even when there is no guarantee that a reduction in tax rates “will reduce funding” for any particular state program. It is required by Colorado, even when the statement is provably and mathematically false. With Initiatives #21 and #22, Advance Colorado has experienced this firsthand, when the state-mandated language was required to be part of the titles in these initiatives. This lawsuit seeks to ensure the First Amendment is followed in Colorado.