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Session Laws and Statutes

Question

What does C.R.S. stand for?

C.R.S. stands for the Colorado Revised Statutes, the compilation of statutory laws (arranged by subject) and nonstatutory material (such as court case annotations, editor's notes, and source notes).

What is the difference between the Colorado Constitution, the C.R.S., and the Session Laws?

The Colorado Constitution forms the basic law of the state. It establishes the legal framework of the government, delegates powers and responsibilities, and defines rights and liberties. The constitution can be amended only by a vote of the people.

The C.R.S. contains all the laws of a general and permanent nature in the state and most can be changed by the General Assembly. Under Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution, some statutory changes relating to taxes and tax policy require voter approval.

The Session Laws are the official compilation of the bills enacted by both houses of the Colorado General Assembly. This includes bills that amend the C.R.S. and appropriations bills that fund various state agencies, institutions, and programs. The session laws also include concurrent resolutions, resolutions, and memorials.

What is the difference between a statute and a law?

A statute is a law that is enacted by the General Assembly. "Law" is a broader term that includes statutes, constitutional provisions, appellate court decisions, and executive branch rules.

Is everything that is printed in the Session Laws also printed in the statutes?

No. Only a compilation of the "general and permanent" laws amended or created and enacted during the legislative session are printed in the statutes. Resolutions, memorials, the long bill (the annual budget bill), supplemental appropriation bills, and land acquisitions are published only in the Session Laws.

Is there ever a time when you amend Session Laws instead of the C.R.S.?

Yes. To amend law that did not become a part of the statutes, it is necessary to amend the Session Laws. The long bill and supplemental appropriation bills from previous years are typically amended in succeeding years by amending the Session Laws.

When would I ever use my Session Laws?

You could use your Session Laws to find all bills, resolutions, and memorials enacted during a particular legislative session, as well as proposed constitutional amendments and laws referred to the people during that session. Most bills in the Session Laws will show the changes made to existing statutes in strike-type or in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Does every bill have to amend a statute that is in the C.R.S.?

While there are some bills, such as the rule review bill and appropriations bills, that do not amend a statute in the C.R.S., a bill whose purpose is to make a change to existing law must either amend or repeal current statutes or enact new ones.

What information is provided in editor's notes, cross references, and source notes to statutes in the C.R.S.?

Editor's notes clarify or give information about the provisions of a statute that might not otherwise be obvious to the reader, such as when the statute takes effect, what it applies to, and how to find amendments to a statute made before it was repealed.

Cross references refer readers to other C.R.S. sections, the Session Laws, the Colorado Constitution, or federal laws or regulations that relate to the statutory provision.

Source notes show the legislative history of a C.R.S. section. They're located immediately after the text of the section, and they identify the years in which a section was amended and where to find the bills that amended the section in the Session Laws.

What are case annotations?

Case annotations are brief summaries of state and federal court decisions construing, interpreting, or applying the constitution, statutes, or court rules.