Code of Colorado Regulations FAQs

Q1. What is an administrative rule or regulation?

A1.  When laws are passed by the legislature, administrative rules and regulations are adopted by state agencies to interpret and enforce those laws.

Executive departments and agencies of Colorado adopt, amend, and repeal regulations under the authority granted to them by the state legislature.  The Administrative Procedure Act governs this general rulemaking process.

Administrative rules carry the weight of law, and noncompliance can result in citations, fines, or other consequences (such as losing a license).  You may wish to talk to an attorney or other legal counsel to determine your obligations and risk.

 

Q2. What is the Code of Colorado Regulations?

A2.  The Secretary of State collects and publishes the official version of Colorado’s administrative rules in the Code of Colorado Regulations (CCR).  

 

Q3. What is the Colorado Register?

A3.  Notices of rulemaking, proposed, new and amended rules, and Attorney General Opinions are published twice a month in the Colorado Register. [1]  You can view back issues of the register by clicking on the "Prior Issues" link in the top left corner of the Colorado Register web page.

 

Q4. How do I find a rule in the online Code of Colorado Regulations?

A4.  Rules are grouped under the agency that administers them, so you can also browse the rules by agency using the "CCR by Agency Name" link. 

If you already know the CCR regulation number, you can get there by using the "CCR by Rule Number" link.

You can search the CCR by a word or phrase using the CCR Search.

Once you have reached the page with the rule text displayed, you can view the entire rule by clicking "Display Entire Rule" in the top left corner of the screen.  If the rule is very large, it may take a few moments to load.

 

Q5. How do I print a rule from the online Code of Colorado Regulations?

A5.  While viewing a rule, place your mouse cursor over the rule text.  Right-click, then left-click on "Print" in the menu that appears under your cursor.

If you want to print only part of the text, use your mouse cursor to select the desired text, right-click, and then select "Print".  You should see an option to print only the selection (generally under "Print Range").

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Q6. Where can I find a printed copy of the regulations?

A6.  You can access the official Code and Register published by law [2] online.  An unofficial print version can be purchased from LexisNexis.  The CCR is also available at the Colorado Supreme Court Law Library, as well as at some public libraries.

Regulations are also available from the state agency that adopted the regulation.  Some additional material, such as a rule adopted by a federal agency, may be incorporated by reference in regulations.  Contact the individual state agency to determine if its regulations or incorporated material is available.

 

Q7. Where can I find older versions of the regulations?

A7.  The online CCR publication contains past versions of the regulations dating back to 2007.  To view these prior versions:

  • Go to a specific rule.
  • Click on the "History" link in the top left corner of the page.  This will open a separate window that shows the available versions of the CCR number, sorted by effective date. 
  • Click on the version number.

For administrative rules in effect before 2007, you may need to talk to the agency that adopted the rules or check with the State Supreme Court Library or the State Archives.

 

Q8. How do I find the history of changes made to a rule?

A8.  Go to the rule and click on the "Display Entire Rule" link, located in the top left corner of the page.

Next, scroll to the end of the rule. If the rule has been updated since April 1, 2007, there will be an "Editor’s Notes" section that lists the history of changes to the rule.

For rule change history before April 1, 2007, you can use the Rule history before April 1, 2007 link on the Administrative Rules Program home page. The Rule History has images of the History Notes from the print publication of the CCR.  Enter the exact CCR number, such as "8 CCR 1505-1" (without quotes) into the "Name" search field, and then click on the "Search" button.

 

Q9. Where can I get more information about a rule?

A9.  For any questions about the content and application of a particular rule, please contact the state agency that adopted the rule.  For questions about the rulemaking process or the official publication of the Code and Register, please contact us at rules@sos.state.co.us or 303-894-2200, ext. 6418.

 

Q10. How can I find out if an agency is planning to make or change rules?

A10.  The Secretary of State’s office offers an e-mail notification service.  To sign up for it, start on the web page for the Colorado Register.  In the top left corner of the screen, click on the "Free E-mail Notification Service" link.

This will take you to a screen where you can enter your e-mail address and then select a rulemaking entity or "agency" from the drop-down list.  If you would like to select more than one agency, hold down the "Ctrl" key while you click on the agency names.  Click on the "Subscribe" button to submit your request.

When the agency or agencies that you selected engage in rulemaking, and notices of a rulemaking hearing or the completed rules are published in the Colorado Register, you will receive an e-mail. The e-mail will notify you of the publication and provide a link to the relevant issue of the register.

 

Q11. How are rules adopted, amended, or repealed?

A11.  The first step to adopt, amend, or repeal regulations is for an agency to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Colorado Register.  (There are limited instances where an agency may adopt a temporary or emergency rule without publishing a notice; however, it must still publish the adopted rule.)

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking contains the date, time, and location of the hearing, which must be held at least 20 days after publication in the Colorado Register  The Register is published on the 10th and 25th of each month.  The notice also contains the statutory authority for the proposed action, the subject matter of the proposed rulemaking, and the agency’s contact information.  It may also contain the text of the proposed rules and other information.

The agency then allows time for public comment and reviews before taking final action.  A newly adopted, amended, or repealed rule must be published in the Colorado Register before it can take effect.  The rule may become effective twenty (20) days after publication or later, if desired.  An emergency rule may become effective upon adoption. 

As part of the rulemaking process, the Department of Regulatory Agencies’ Office of Policy, Research and Regulatory Reform, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Office of Legislative Legal Services also review the rules.

Rulemaking time periods are counted by calendar days, beginning with the day following the action, including weekend days and holidays. The only exception is the 20-day deadline for completion of rule-filing after adoption. If this deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the filing agency may file on the next business day.

A flowchart (PDF) that shows how the rulemaking process works is available.  Other process diagrams and rulefiling schedule calculators are available on the Administrative Rules home page.

 

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[1] Published pursuant to 24-4-103(11), C.R.S.
[2] Pursuant to 24-4-103(11), C.R.S.