COPRRR The Process

What to Know About Colorado's Rulemaking and Cost-Benefit Analysis Process

Did you know that Colorado was the first state to implement an official process for regular program review, known as the sunset process? It was heralded on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in 1976 as “a remarkable innovation in state government." A White House report released in August 2015 cited Colorado in the top 20 percent of states keeping burdens low for occupational licensing, and recognized its sunrise and sunset processes performed by DORA’s Colorado Office of Policy, Research and Regulatory Reform.

COPRRR conducts sunrise reviews of proposals to create new professional and occupational regulatory programs and sunset reviews of existing government programs, as well as reviews proposals for new mandatory continuing education requirements. The office also provides a mechanism for citizens to receive Notices of Proposed Rulemaking in their areas of interest. When you sign up to receive Regulatory Notices, you are provided with information on the proposed rules, its public hearing and an effortless way to request that the rulemaking agency complete a cost-benefit analysis of the new or amended rules. Get more informed on the rulemaking process by reviewing our Citizen's Guide.

Definitions and Process

What is a "Regulation?"
A regulation is a rule created by a state agency that has an impact on the regulated entity and on the public. The regulation is the state agency's action in implementing, interpreting, applying or enforcing a statute enacted by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor. Regulations range from the seemingly insignificant (the size of Swiss cheese holes) to the serious (dealing with Chronic Wasting Disease).

Rulemaking Procedure
Every state agency in the Executive Branch must adhere to the rulemaking process outlined in the Administrative Procedure Act or APA (Section 24-4-101, Colorado Revised Statutes) unless explicitly exempted. The rulemaking process involves four stages: 1) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; 2) Comment Period on Proposed Rule; 3) Hearing on Proposed Rule; 4) Final Adoption of Proposed Rule.

File a Rule

Cost-Benefit Analysis
A member of the public may email COPRRR to request a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) from the agency proposing rule changes, which is made publicly available when it is completed.

Request a CBA

Four Stages of the Rulemaking Process

1. Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
When an agency wants to promulgate a new rule or an amendment to an existing rule, it must first file a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State then publishes the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Colorado Register. This publication acts as notice to the public. Due to the passage of Senate Bill 03-121, agencies must also send a copy of the proposed rule to COPRRR. If you sign-up to receive a Regulatory Notice, you will receive an e-mail telling you that a proposed rule has been submitted by an agency covering a subject matter of interest to you.

Statutorily, agencies are also required to notify any individual who has told the agency that they want to be notified of any proposed rulemaking. The individual needs to file the appropriate form with the agency. The agency then will send the notice to the individual either by ordinary mail or via electronic mail. There may be a small fee for those individuals who want to receive notice by ordinary mail.

Get Notified

2. Comment Period on Proposed Rule
Once the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is filed with the Secretary of State, the public is allowed to offer comments on the proposed rule. A Colorado state governmental agency must accept and consider comments from the public before that agency can adopt, amend or otherwise change any regulation not explicitly exempted from the APA.

Regulatory Notice subscribers will receive the contact information of the individuals in the agency submitting the proposed rule so that they can send comments or get further information.

3. Hearing on Proposed Rule
At the hearing on the proposed rule, the agency accepts written and oral testimony about the rule. The testimony can be supportive of, or in opposition to, the proposed rule. Once the hearing ends, the public is no longer able to offer comments on the proposed rule unless the agency alters the proposed rule in a manner that requires the process to begin again.

4. Final Adoption of Rule
Following the hearing on the proposed rule, the agency has 180 days to file adopted rules with the Secretary of State for publication in the Colorado Register. Adopted rules go into effect twenty days after publication or on such later date as is stated in the rule.

Colorado Secretary of State - Official Rules of State Agencies

Key Milestones in the Regulatory and Cost-Benefit Analysis Process Timeline

The following timeline illustrates the regulatory process. The timeline below assumes statutorily minimum days used by an agency, which means that a proposed rule could become final in no less than 91 days.

  • Anytime
    • You can sign up to receive electronic notices of rulemaking hearings on this site or submit your name to a specific state agency requesting that you receive notices of proposed rulemaking (a fee may be charged if you request notices by mail; there is not a fee if you request notices by electronic mail).
    • Notice of Proposed Rulemaking can be filed with the Secretary of State for publication in the Colorado Register anytime and draft rules are submitted to COPRRR.
  • Within 5 days after publication of the Notice of Rulemaking in the Colorado Register - A member of the public may request COPRRR require a Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) from the agency proposing rule changes. COPRRR will consult with staff of the rulemaking agency prior to making a request for a cost-benefit analysis.
  • 15 days prior to first hearing - A member of the public may request a regulatory analysis from the agency proposing rule changes.
  • 10 days prior to first hearing - If required, the CBA is completed, made available to the public on rulemaking agency's website and submitted to COPRRR who also makes it publicly available.
  • 5 days prior to first hearing - Regulatory analysis, if requested, is completed and made available to the public.
  • 0 days - First Public Hearing (public has the opportunity to submit written data, views or arguments).
  • Up to 180 days after hearing - Rules must be adopted.
  • Within 20 days after adoption of rules - Final adopted rules are filed with the Secretary of State for publication in the Colorado Register.
  • At least 30 days after filing adopted rules with the Secretary of State - Final rules becomes effective.




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Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies