Every bill that is introduced during a general or special session of the Colorado General Assembly is assigned a bill number that is unique to that bill and that session. The complete bill number is printed in the upper right corner of the first page of each bill.
In Colorado, a bill number cannot carry over from one session to another. If a bill does not pass during a session, the same bill topic can be introduced in a future session as a new bill, with a new bill number. Furthermore, that new bill would start at the beginning of the legislative process, not from some point where a prior bill had failed.
Bill numbers are assigned by non-partisan chamber staff in the order that bills are received from the Office of Legislative Legal Services, bill prime sponsors, and/or the presiding officer of that chamber.
When a member of the House of Representatives is the originating prime sponsor of a bill, the bill will be introduced in the House, and it will be assigned a House bill number. House bills are designated with the two-letter abbreviation “HB”.
When a member of the Senate is the originating prime sponsor of a bill, the bill will be introduced in the Senate, and it will be assigned a Senate bill number. Senate bills are designated with the two-letter abbreviation “SB”.
A two-digit number, which designates year, will follow the two-letter chamber abbreviation. If a bill is introduced during a special session, a letter will be added to the two-digit session year number. The letter “B” would designate the First Extraordinary Session held during that year. Please note that, prior to 2013, bills introduced during special sessions were designated with the letter “S”.
House bills are assigned four-digit bill numbers, starting with the number “1001”. If a House bill were introduced as “1234”, that would designate the 234th House bill to be introduced during that session.
Senate bills are assigned three-digit numbers, starting with the number “001”. If a Senate bill were introduced as “135”, then that would designate the 135th Senate bill to be introduced during that session.
During a session, it is common for people to refer to bills simply by those three- or four-digit numbers. However, keep in mind that same numbering sequence is used every session. Thus, when referring to a bill from a prior session, it can be helpful to use the entire bill numbering sequence (Chamber-Year-Number) to avoid confusion between bills from different sessions that happen to share the same three- or four-digit number.
When speaking to a legislator about a bill, it can be helpful to refer to the bill number and the title or general topic of that bill. While a certain bill might be of immediate interest to you, it could be days, weeks, or even months before a given legislator would have opportunity to vote on that bill. Thus, he/she may not yet be familiar with it. That is especially true for members of the second chamber while a given bill is still in its first chamber.
Here in Colorado, when a bill passes through its first chamber, it then moves to the second chamber under the same bill number. For comparison, in some legislative environments, the second chamber might consider “companion” legislation under a bill number that is associated with that second chamber. However, here in Colorado, House bills that pass through the House continue in the Senate as House bills. Senate bills that pass through the Senate continue in the House as Senate bills.