Redistricting roundup in Colorado, Arkansas, and Connecticut

Here’s a summary of recent redistricting news from Colorado, Arkansas, and Connecticut:

In Arkansas, the secretary of state’s office approved the veto referendums announced by Arkansans for a Unified Natural State, which challenge the state’s congressional map bills, meaning the organization can begin collecting signatures. The signature campaign for the veto referendums, if successful, would place the two identical congressional district map bills on the Nov. 2022 general election ballot. To qualify for the ballot, supporters must gather 53,491 signatures for each referendum from registered voters in at least 15 of the state’s counties within 90 days after the end of the special legislative session in which the bills were passed.

In Colorado, the secretary of state’s office announced on Oct. 12 that it would pursue claims alleging the violation of lobbying laws in interactions with the state’s independent redistricting commissioners. Stanley Matsunaka (D) filed a complaint with the Colorado Secretary of State alleging that former Colorado House Speaker Frank McNulty (R) and former Colorado House and Senate member Greg Brophy (R) had failed to register as lobbyists before lobbying the commissioners. It further alleged that McNulty, Brophy, and registered lobbyist Alan Philip did not correctly report payment by a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group, Colorado Neighborhood Coalition, for lobbying work.

In response to the complaint, McNulty said: “This is just another attempt by partisan Democrats to suppress involvement in a public process.” Philip said: “Partisan Democrat secretary of state decides to move forward with a baseless complaint by partisan Democrat operatives. I’m disappointed, but not surprised.” The secretary of state’s office said it would pursue claims against McNulty and Brophy, but it would not pursue the claims against Philip due to lack of sufficient grounds. The office referred the issue to the Office of Administrative Courts for further action.

In Connecticut, the Connecticut Reapportionment Commission announced the addition of a ninth member, ​​Kevin Johnston (D), on Oct. 20. Johnston is a former state Senator and state auditor. At the same meeting, commissioners selected Senate Minority Leader Kevin C. Kelly (R) and House Speaker Matthew Ritter (D) to serve as chairs. The commission is tasked with drawing both congressional and legislative maps, since the Connecticut General Assembly did not approve new maps by the Sept. 15 deadline.

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