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Legal and ethical obligations of commissioners:

The Colorado Constitution establishes certain legal and ethical obligations of members of either commission. Specifically, the constitution makes commission members subject to criminal laws relating to bribery -- that is soliciting, accepting, or agreeing to accept anything for economic gain to influence one's vote or other action as a commissioner – and abuse of public office – which may include misuse of information before it is made public, refraining from performing a duty imposed upon the commissioner by law, or violating a law or rule relating to his or her position as a commissioner.

The constitution also specifically provides that commissioners are subject to the open records law of Colorado. This means that commissioners are required to make available for inspection upon request any public records under the control of the commissioner that relate to their service as a commissioner. Correspondence, including email and texts, are considered public records subject to inspection if they relate to commission business.

Also, all commissioners are subject to the open meetings laws of the state. This means that any meeting of two or more commissioners at which commission business is discussed is public and anyone may listen in on such a meeting. Additionally, prior notice must be given of any meeting at which a vote is taken or at which seven or more members of a commission are present.

Finally, because commission staff are charged with drawing the preliminary plans and with later "staff plans" for the commissions to consider, commissioners are prohibited from communicating with staff about the mapping of any district except during a public meeting or hearing of the commission. Thus, any direction or suggestion on how staff should draw a map or factors to consider in drawing a map should only be given during a public meeting of the whole commission.

Commission staff will offer additional information and be available to assist commission members with questions about these obligations after members are appointed.