Senator Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, said today that he would likely introduce two redistricting map bills into the Senate after committee talks broke down on redistricting. Heath said there was no reason for further conversations with Republicans, who he said did not have authority to negotiate.
Though bipartisan cooperation on redrawing congressional lines was heralded by Republican and Democratic leadership at the start of the session, those talks appear to have now failed.
Heath said that co-chair Rep. David Balmer, R-Centennial, had been sincere in the creation of his maps. He went on to say that it was equally clear to him that Republicans had not been given the authority to negotiate with Democrats.
“When you don’t have authority, there is no place to start talking,” Heath said. “That group had no authority to negotiate with us–that became clear.”
Senate President Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, said he would be willing to return to the tables if progress seemed likely, but from what he had seen so far, he said progress was unlikely. He said he had given Heath late bill authority to introduce the redistricting maps.
Republicans have continued to call for Democrats to return to the table and have said they wanted to throw the old maps out and start drawing all new maps.
Talks broke down after Republican maps paid little heed to competitive districts and Democratic maps radically reshaped districts in order to make them more competitive.
Heath said there needed to be a foundation to create a compromise. He said he hoped his bills would start that process.
Heath appeared to have no more interest in continuing discussions in the redistricting committee.
Heath said his bills will be introduced later this week, but told the Colorado Independent that he did not want to say yet whether he had incorporated Republican ideas into his map.