Navigating the General Assembly Website: The “Laws” Menu

When visiting the website of the Colorado General Assembly, you’ll find a menu of topics that organize that massive and growing library of information into general topics. Where that menu will appear on your screen and how you might go about selecting a category depends on whether you are using a desktop or laptop computer versus a mobile device such as tablet or phone. From a computer, the menu will likely appear horizontally along the top of your browser window. From a mobile device, look for three horizontal bars and then press that icon to open the menu.

The third category in that menu is titled “Laws”, which provides access to the following information:

  • U.S. Constitution
  • Colorado Constitution
  • Colorado Revised Statutes
  • Session Laws
  • Uniform State Laws
  • Executive Agency Rules & Regulations

The first three links under the “Laws” menu provide access to the U.S. Constitution, Colorado Constitution, and Colorado Revised Statutes. Those resources are hosted by LexisNexis and are available free of charge with no username or password required for access. A disclaimer is provided when entering the LexisNexis site, which reminds users that the site “…is not intended to replace professional legal consultation or advanced legal research tools.” If you have questions of a legal nature, then please consult with an attorney

People who are interested in the activities of their state legislature are generally familiar with the U.S. Constitution, which is more a document than a book. It is less common for people to be familiar with the Colorado Constitution, which is more a book than a document. If you are not familiar with the Colorado Constitution, then you may want review parts of it or read it in its entirety. Keep in mind that, here in Colorado, only the people, voters specifically, have the power to amend their state constitution; the people of Colorado have not delegated that power to the state legislature.

The U.S. Constitution serves as the foundation upon which the Colorado Constitution was established in 1876 and has since been amended by the people of Colorado. In turn, both constitutions serve as the foundation upon which state laws are constructed. If a person believes that a state law is out of compliance with either constitution, then its constitutionality can be challenged in the Judicial Branch.

Colorado state laws are organized by Title, Article, and Section within the Colorado Revised Statutes (“CRS”). Each year, the entirety of Colorado state law is published to represent current state law. Keep in mind that, each year, words and numbers can be added to, removed from, or amended within state law. Such changes can be made by bill at the state Capitol or by statewide ballot voted on by the people of Colorado. New laws are made, existing laws repealed, and/or text of existing law is changed (amended). All of those changes are then incorporated and published anew each year as the revised statutes of our state.

The category titled “Session Laws” refers to bills and concurrent resolutions that passed during the prior legislative session, along with resolutions and memorials designated for printing by the state House and/or Senate.

The category titled “Uniform State Laws” provides information about the Colorado Commission on Uniform State Laws, which works “…with the national Uniform Law Commission (ULC) to promote uniformity in state laws where uniformity may be deemed desirable and practicable.”

The Executive Agency Rules & Regulations link provides access to the Code of Colorado Regulations, which is hosted at the website of the Colorado Secretary of State. Authority is granted through the Colorado Constitution or state law to an Executive Branch agency to adopt such rules and regulations pertaining to one or more laws over which that agency has jurisdiction. A helpful tutorial is provided at that site, which explains how to find rules and other information.

** 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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