Redistricting Musical Chairs
Following submission of the Plan for Congressional Redistricting to the Colorado Supreme Court on October 1, a separate Independent Redistricting Commission continues work on drawing new boundaries for the state’s legislative districts. The eight Congressional districts were agreed upon by an 11-1 vote among the Commissioners. Notwithstanding the agreement of the Commission members, objections have been voiced by a group seeking a district based on a Hispanic “community of interest” and a candidate for the 3rd C.D. who has now been moved into the 2nd C.D. It should be noted that, unlike state legislative seats, there is no requirement for a Congressional candidate to live in the district he/she represents and there has been a history of that occurring among both Democrat and Republican Congressional representatives.
The third staff plan for state legislative seats was released on October 5, with Commission members providing amendments for consideration. The draft plan would not significantly alter the political composition of the legislature with urban districts reflecting historically Democrat voters, while the less populous rural parts of the state would reflect Republican voters. The legislative redistricting effort is expected to conclude its work by October 12 and will submit its final approved plan to the Supreme Court October 15.
Interim Committees Concluding Work
Committees on Water, Transportation, and Tax Policy are finishing their work during the legislative Interim with bill drafts requested for consideration. CMA followed this work intensely because Interim Committee bills are typically introduced early in the session and have already found favor with anywhere from six to twelve legislators. None of the requested bill drafts reflect goals hostile to mining; however, a committee and subpanel exploring tax policy will continue to meet and adverse recommendations could still come forth even if not in bill form. In addition, a task force authorized by 2021 legislation will continue to discuss potential changes to severance tax procedures to even out the volatility of that revenue stream.
WOTUS Issues on Hold—For Now
Following the August 30 decision by an Arizona Federal District Court that vacated and remanded the Navigable Waters Protection Rule promulgated by the Trump EPA in 2019, the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment stated that it is comfortable operating under the pre-2015 regulatory framework for Waters of the U.S. Referred to as the 2008 rule, the regulation maintains the status quo and eliminates any need for protection of “gap waters” in Colorado. The Arizona Court decision was followed on September 27 by a similar action in New Mexico; however, an anticipated appeal of the Arizona ruling leaves the door open to a potential change of heart by the State of Colorado. Stay tuned in the never-ending saga of the quest for a clear-cut definition of Waters of the U.S.