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Constitutional Provisions


 

Constitutional Provisions Controlling Reapportionment/Redistricting


Section 44. Representatives in Congress. 

The general assembly shall divide the state into as many congressional districts as there are representatives in congress apportioned to this state by the congress of the United States for the election of one representative to congress from each district. When a new apportionment shall be made by congress, the general assembly shall divide the state into congressional districts accordingly. 

Section 45. General Assembly. 

The general assembly shall consist of not more than thirty-five members of the senate and of not more than sixty-five members of the house of representatives, one to be elected from each senatorial and each representative district, respectively. 

Section 46. Senatorial and representative districts. 

The state shall be divided into as many senatorial and representative districts as there are members of the senate and house of representatives respectively, each district in each house having a population as nearly equal as may be, as required by the constitution of the United States, but in no event shall there be more than five percent deviation between the most populous and the least populous district in each house. 

Section 47. Composition of districts. 

(1) Each district shall be as compact in area as possible and the aggregate linear distance of all district boundaries shall be as short as possible. Each district shall consist of contiguous whole general election precincts. Districts of the same house shall not overlap. 

(2) Except when necessary to meet the equal population requirements of section 46, no part of one county shall be added to all or part of another county in forming districts. Within counties whose territory is contained in more than one district of the same house, the number of cities and towns whose territory is contained in more than one district of the same house shall be as small as possible. When county, city, or town boundaries are changed, adjustments, if any, in legislative districts shall be as prescribed by law. 

(3) Consistent with the provisions of this section and section 46 of this article, communities of interest, including ethnic, cultural, economic, trade area, geographic, and demographic factors, shall be preserved within a single district wherever possible. 

Section 48.  Revision and alteration of districts - reapportionment commission. 

(1)(a) After each federal census of the United States, the senatorial districts and representative districts shall be established, revised, or altered, and the members of the senate and the house of representatives apportioned among them, by a Colorado reapportionment commission consisting of eleven members, to be appointed and having the qualifications as prescribed in this section. Of such members, four shall be appointed by the legislative department, three by the executive department, and four by the judicial department of the state.. 

(b)  The four legislative members shall be the speaker of the house of representatives, the minority leader of the house of representatives, and the majority and minority leaders of the senate, or the designee of any such officer to serve in his or her stead, which acceptance of service or designation shall be made no later than April 15 of the year following that in which the federal census is taken. The three executive members shall be appointed by the governor between April 15 and April 25 of such year, and the four judicial members shall be appointed by the chief justice of the Colorado supreme court between April 25 and May 5 of such year.  

(c)  Commission members shall be qualified electors of the state of Colorado. No more than four commission members shall be members of the general assembly. No more than six commission members shall be affiliated with the same political party. No more than four commission members shall be residents of the same congressional district, and each congressional district shall have at least one resident as a commission member. At least one commission member shall reside west of the continental divide.  

(d)  Any vacancy created by the death or resignation of a member, or otherwise, shall be filled by the respective appointing authority. Members of the commission shall hold office until their reapportionment and redistricting plan is implemented. No later than May 15 of the year of their appointment, the governor shall convene the commission and appoint a temporary chairman who shall preside until the commission elects its own officers.   

(e)  Within one hundred thirteen days after the commission has been convened or the necessary census data are available, whichever is later, the commission shall publish a preliminary plan for reapportionment of the members of the general assembly and shall hold public hearings thereon in several places throughout the state within forty-five days after the date of such publication. No later than one hundred twenty-three days prior to the date established in statute for precinct caucuses in the second year following the year in which the census was taken or, if the election laws do not provide for precinct caucuses, no later than one hundred twenty-three days prior to the date established in statute for the event commencing the candidate selection process in such year, the commission shall finalize its plan and submit the same to the Colorado supreme court for review and determination as to compliance with sections 46 and 47 of this article. Such review and determination shall take precedence over other matters before the court. The supreme court shall adopt rules for such proceedings and for the production and presentation of supportive evidence for such plan. Any legal arguments or evidence concerning such plan shall be submitted to the supreme court pursuant to the schedule established by the court; except that the final submission must be made no later than ninety days prior to the date established in statute for precinct caucuses in the second year following the year in which the census was taken or, if the election laws do not provide for precinct caucuses, no later than ninety days prior to the date established in statute for the event commencing the candidate selection process in such year. The supreme court shall either approve the plan or return the plan and the court's reasons for disapproval to the commission. If the plan is returned, the commission shall revise and modify it to conform to the court's requirements and resubmit the plan to the court within the time period specified by the court. The supreme court shall approve a plan for the redrawing of the districts of the members of the general assembly by a date that will allow sufficient time for such plan to be filed with the secretary of state no later than fifty-five days prior to the date established in statute for precinct caucuses in the second year following the year in which the census was taken or, if the election laws do not provide for precinct caucuses, no later than fifty-five days prior to the date established in statute for the event commencing the candidate selection process in such year. The court shall order that such plan be filed with the secretary of state no later than such date. The commission shall keep a public record of all the proceedings of the commission and shall be responsible for the publication and distribution of copies of each plan.

    (f)  The general assembly shall appropriate sufficient funds for the compensation and payment of the expenses of the commission members and any staff employed by it. The commission shall have access to statistical information compiled by the state or its political subdivisions and necessary for its reapportionment duties.

 


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