Colorado Constitution of 1876 Art. V, § 48. Commission organization--procedures--transparency--voting requirements

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<Text of section effective upon passage of the amendment proposed by Laws 2018, Amendment Z, and the governor's proclamation of voter approval in the Nov. 6, 2018 general election>

(1) Initial organization, officers, procedures, rules, and transparency.  (a) The governor shall convene the commission no later than March 30 of the redistricting year and appoint a temporary chairperson from the commission's members.  Upon convening, the commission shall elect a chair and a vice-chair, who are not members of the same political party, and other such officers as it determines.

(b) The director of research of the legislative council and the director of the office of legislative legal services, or the directors of successor nonpartisan offices of the general assembly, shall appoint nonpartisan staff from their respective offices as needed to assist the commission and the panel of judges as described in section 47 of this article V.  Nonpartisan staff shall acquire and prepare all necessary resources, including computer hardware, software, and demographic, geographic, and political databases, as far in advance as necessary to enable the commission to begin its work immediately upon convening.

(c) The commission may retain legal counsel in all actions and proceedings in connection with the performance of its powers, duties, and functions, including representation of the commission before any court.

(d) The general assembly shall appropriate sufficient funds for the payment of the expenses of the commission, the compensation and expenses of nonpartisan staff, and the compensation and expenses of the panel of judges as described in section 47 of this article V.  Members of the commission shall be reimbursed for their reasonable and necessary expenses and may also receive such per diem allowance as may be established by the general assembly.  Subject to available appropriations, hardware and software necessary for the development of plans may, at the request of any commissioner, be provided to the commissioner.  The commission and its staff must have access to statistical information compiled by the state and its political subdivisions as necessary for its duties.  State agencies and political subdivisions shall comply with requests from the commission and its staff for such statistical information.

(e) The commission shall adopt rules to govern its administration and operation.  The commission must provide at least seventy-two hours of advance public notice of all proposed rules prior to consideration for adoption;  except that proposed rules may be amended during commission deliberations without such advance notice of specific, related amendments.  Neither the commission's procedural rules nor its mapping decisions are subject to the “State Administrative Procedure Act”, article 4 of title 24, C.R.S., or any successor statute.  Rules must include but need not be limited to the following:

(I) The hearing process and review of maps submitted for its consideration;

(II) Maintenance of a record of the commission's activities and proceedings, including a record of written and oral testimony received, and of the commission's directions to nonpartisan staff on proposed changes to any plan and the commission's rationale for such changes;

(III) The process for removing commissioners for participating in communications prohibited under this section;

(IV) The process for recommending changes to plans submitted to the commission by nonpartisan staff;  and

(V) The adoption of a statewide meeting and hearing schedule, including the necessary elements of electronic attendance at a commission hearing.

(2) Voting requirements.  A simple majority of the appointed commissioners may approve rules and procedural decisions.  The election of the commission's chair and vice-chair requires the affirmative vote of at least eight commissioners, including the affirmative vote of at least one commissioner who is unaffiliated with any political party.  Removal of any commissioner as provided in this section requires the affirmative vote of at least eight commissioners, including the affirmative vote of at least two commissioners who are unaffiliated with any political party.  Adoption of the final plan for submission to the supreme court and the adoption of a revised plan after a plan is returned to the commission from the supreme court requires the affirmative vote of at least eight commissioners, including the affirmative vote of at least two commissioners who are unaffiliated with any political party.  The commission shall not vote upon a final plan until at least seventy-two hours after it has been proposed to the commission in a public meeting or at least seventy-two hours after it has been amended by the commission in a public meeting, whichever occurs later;  except that commissioners may unanimously waive the seventy-two hour requirement.

(3) Public involvement--hearing process.  (a) All Colorado residents, including individual commissioners, may present proposed redistricting maps or written comments, or both, for the commission's consideration.

(b) The commission must, to the maximum extent practicable, provide opportunities for Colorado residents to present testimony at hearings held throughout the state.  The commission shall not approve a redistricting map until at least three hearings have been held in each congressional district, including at least one hearing that is held in a location west of the continental divide and at least one hearing that is held in a location east of the continental divide and either south of El Paso county's southern boundary or east of Arapahoe county's eastern boundary.  No gathering of commissioners can be considered a hearing for this purpose unless it is attended, in person or electronically, by at least ten commissioners.  The commission shall establish by rule the necessary elements of electronic attendance at a commission hearing.

(c) The commission shall maintain a website or comparable means of communicating with the public through which any Colorado resident may submit proposed maps or written comments, or both, without attending a hearing of the commission.

(d) The commission shall publish all written comments pertaining to redistricting on its website or comparable means of communicating with the public as well as the name of the Colorado resident submitting such comments.  If the commission or nonpartisan staff have a substantial basis to believe that the person submitting such comments has not truthfully or accurately identified himself or herself, the commission need not consider and need not publish such comments but must notify the commenter in writing of this fact.  The commission may withhold comments, in whole or in part, from the website or comparable means of communicating with the public that do not relate to redistricting maps, policies, or communities of interest.

(e) The commission shall provide simultaneous access to the regional hearings by broadcasting them via its website or comparable means of communicating with the public and maintain an archive of such hearings for online public review.

(4) Ethical obligations--transparency--lobbyist reporting.  (a) Commissioners are guardians of the public trust and are subject to antibribery and abuse of public office requirements as provided in parts 3 and 4 of article 8 of title 18, C.R.S., as amended, or any successor statute.

(b) To ensure transparency in the redistricting process:

(I)(A) The commission and the commissioners are subject to open meetings requirements as provided in part 4 of article 6 of title 24, C.R.S., as amended, or any successor statute.

(B) Except as provided in subsection (4)(b)(I)(D) of this section, a commissioner shall not communicate with nonpartisan staff on the mapping of legislative districts unless the communication is during a public meeting or hearing of the commission.

(C) Except for public input and comment, nonpartisan staff shall not have any communications about the content or development of any plan outside of public hearings with anyone except other staff members.  Nonpartisan staff shall report to the commission any attempt by anyone to exert influence over the staff's role in the drafting of plans.

(D) One or more nonpartisan staff may be designated to communicate with commissioners regarding administrative matters, the definition and scope of which shall be determined by the commission.

(E) Any commissioner who participates in a communication prohibited in this section must be removed from the commission, and such vacancy must be filled within seven days.

(II) The commission, each commissioner, and nonpartisan staff are subject to open records requirements as provided in part 1 of article 72 of title 24, C.R.S., as amended, or any successor statute;  except that maps in draft form and not submitted to the commission are not public records subject to disclosure.  Work product and communications among nonpartisan staff are subject to disclosure once a plan is submitted to the supreme court.

(III) Persons who contract for or receive compensation for advocating to the commission, to one or more commissioners, or to nonpartisan staff for the adoption or rejection of any map, amendment to a map, mapping approach, or manner of compliance with any of the mapping criteria specified in section 48.1 of this article V are lobbyists who must disclose to the secretary of state any compensation contracted for, compensation received, and the person or entity contracting or paying for their lobbying services.  Such disclosure must be made no later than seventy-two hours after the earlier of each instance of such lobbying or any payment of such compensation.  The secretary of state shall publish on the secretary of state's website or comparable means of communicating with the public the names of such lobbyists, as well as the compensation received and the persons or entities for whom they work within twenty-four hours of receiving such information.  The secretary of state shall adopt rules to facilitate the complete and prompt reporting required by this subsection (4)(b)(III) as well as a complaint process to address any lobbyist's failure to report a full and accurate disclosure, which complaint must be heard by an administrative law judge, whose decision may be appealed to the court of appeals.

Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Colorado Constitution of 1876 Art. V, § 48. Commission organization--procedures--transparency--voting requirements - last updated January 01, 2019 | https://codes.findlaw.com/co/colorado-constitution-of-1876/co-const-art-v-sect-48.html


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