District maps for Legislature near final vote
State lawmakers anxiously are waiting to see what the 11-member panel charged with redrawing legislative district lines will do next week.
The panel of six Democrats, six Republicans and an unaffiliated chairman is to meet Monday to discuss proposed changes to a preliminary map it approved earlier this summer. It could vote on a final map later this week or early next week.
After holding more than two dozen public hearings on preliminary House and Senate maps in August and early September, some members are proposing changes based on what they heard from the public.
For the Western Slope, that could mean that instead of Delta County being represented by two House members — Reps. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, and Roger Wilson, D-Glenwood Springs — it could get three.
Scott represents the western half of the county, and Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose, represents the eastern side.
The preliminary map approved by the panel proposed moving Coram’s district to stop at the Delta-Montrose county line and pick up portions of southern Gunnison County. Now, two new proposals have surfaced that divide the county three ways. One would put the city of Delta in Ray’s district, and another would give it to Coram.
All three call for Wilson, the region’s only Democrat in the Colorado House, to represent the towns of Hotchkiss and Paonia.
One of the maps would take Ouray County and half of San Miguel County out of Coram’s district and put it in House District 59, which is represented by Rep. J. Paul Brown, R-Ignacio.
The new maps also toy with where Grand County would be. Currently, it is part of House District 57, represented by Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs. The preliminary map would place that county in the same House district that includes part of Boulder County.
While one of the maps would keep Grand County tied to a Front Range district, another would join it with neighboring Eagle and Summit counties.
And it no longer would be called House District 57. Under one map, that part of the district would be HD56. If that happens, Baumgardner would have to run against freshman Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, if he wants to remain in the Legislature.
The rest of the district, which includes Garfield, Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt and Jackson counties, would be in a renumbered House District 63.
The new maps make few changes to the districts now represented by Scott and Rep. Laura Bradford, R-Collbran, and virtually make no changes to proposed Senate district lines in the region.