CIVICS CORNER

YOUR GUIDE TO THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS

Understanding Bill Versions

When a bill is introduced in the Colorado General Assembly, it is posted to the General Assembly website as the Introduced version. The word “Introduced” will appear in bold capital letters in the upper right corner of the first page of the bill. That version of the...

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The Petition Clause versus the Safety Clause

The final Section of a bill that is introduced in the Colorado General Assembly explains when and how that bill would become law, if it were to pass through both legislative chambers and the governor not veto it. That final Section of a bill will either be a petition...

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Who has lawmaking authority in Colorado?

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States determines that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” From that starting point,...

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Bills don’t read like stories

In layman terms, a bill is a collection of words and numbers on paper. Each bill that is introduced during a Colorado legislative session proposes to add words and/or numbers to current Colorado statute, remove words and/or numbers from current Colorado statute, or...

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Deny Quorum: Shut down the process

During 2021, Democratic members of the Texas state Senate, who were in the Minority, were able to shut down their legislative process by denying quorum to the Majority, which was held by Republicans. That tactic was also used by Republican members of the Oregon state...

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Simple Majority Control

Article V, Section 45 of the Colorado Constitution states, “The general assembly shall consist of not more than thirty-five members of the senate and not more than sixty-five members of the house of representatives, one to be elected from each senatorial and each...

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Governor Appointments and Senate Confirmations

The President of the United States appoints members of his/her cabinet, justices of the Supreme Court, and other persons to various roles in the federal government. Such appointments may require confirmation by the United States Senate.  The Governor of Colorado...

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The State of the State Address

Members of the state House and Senate will meet today in joint session to hear the "State of the State" address from Governor Polis. It is an opportunity for the public and representatives from all three Branches of state government to hear from the chief executive of...

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The Colorado Single Subject Requirement

Article V, Section 21 of the Colorado Constitution states, “Bill to contain but one subject, expressed in title. No bill, except the general appropriation bills, shall be passed containing more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title; but if...

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Voting “Present”

It is common for people to refer to members of the Colorado General Assembly as "Congressman" or 'Congresswoman." Please note that is incorrect. In American government, the word "Congress" refers to the bi-cameral federal legislature. There are 435 elected voting...

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Understanding the word “Congress”

It is common for people to refer to members of the Colorado General Assembly as "Congressman" or 'Congresswoman." Please note that is incorrect. In American government, the word "Congress" refers to the bi-cameral federal legislature. There are 435 elected voting...

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Why is this the 74th General Assembly?

Colorado was admitted to the Union as the 38th state in 1876.  Each General Assembly is seated for a two-year period, which corresponds to the two-year terms to which each of the 65 Colorado State Representatives are elected. This being the 74th General Assembly,...

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No Law But By Bill

Article V, Section 17 of the Colorado Constitution states, “No law shall be passed except by bill, and no bill shall be altered or amended on its passage through either house as to change its original purpose.” Sometimes, constituents will contact one or more state...

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Why did the General Assembly convene early this year?

This year's legislative session began earlier than usual! Article V, Section 7 of the Colorado Constitution requires the General Assembly to convene at or before 10 a.m. of the second Wednesday of January each year. Thus, customarily, the Colorado General Assembly...

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Why 120 Days?

Why does the General Assembly only meet for 120 days a year? Article V, Section 7 of the Colorado Constitution allows the Colorado General Assembly to meet in general session each year for not more than 120 days. During a general session, state legislators may...

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The information provided herein is intended for general educational purposes only and is not legal advice. If you have questions of a legal nature, please consult with an attorney.

Civics Corner content was written with the help of former Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert.

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