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This guide provides an overview of the functions, entities, and structure of the executive branch of the Colorado Government.  It also reviews some of the publications and resources available from the executive branch.
Structure of the Colorado State Government
The Colorado Government consists of three distinct branches of government as established by Article III of the Constitution of Colorado: the Executive Branch, Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch.  These branches each have several departments and offices within them and those departments and offices are organized as follows:

Organizational Chart

The Colorado Executive Branch
The Executive Branch is the largest branch of government in Colorado and is responsible for executing and enforcing the laws of Colorado.  The duties, functions, and structure of the Executive Branch are defined by Article IV of the Colorado Constitution and further defined by Title 24 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.  Accordingly, the Executive Branch includes the following officers:

Governor: The Governor is charged with taking care that the laws of the State are faithfully executed.  The Governor's other powers include: receiving and conveying information about the condition of the state, convening special sessions of the legislature or senate, signing or vetoing bills, vetoing items in bills, and naming people to the state boards and commissions.

Lieutenant Governor: The Lt. Governor oversees some of the state boards and commissions and temporarily fills in for the Governor when the Governor is outside the State of Colorado or is otherwise unable to perform the gubernatorial obligations.

Secretary of State:  The Secretary of State oversees the elections and enforces the election laws of the state.  The Secretary of State is also charged with keeping and maintaining all the laws of Colorado, as well as bonds, books, records, maps, registers, and papers of a public character that are deposited with the state.

State Treasurer:  The State Treasurer receives and invests state funds and pays the bills of the state.  The State Treasurer must prepare quarterly reports regarding the state's finances and furnish other information regarding state funds when requested.

Attorney General:  The AG functions as legal counsel for the state and is responsible for providing legal counsel and advice to each department, division, board, bureau and agency of the state government other than the legislative branch.  The AG also represents the state in all legal actions and proceedings.

To support these officers in executing and enforcing the laws of the state, the executive branch also includes a large number of different state boards, commissions, offices and agencies.  Additionally, to further support the enforcement of and compliance with the laws of the state, the legislative branch often grants these state agencies quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial authority.  When granted this authority, state agencies may promulgate rules and adjudicate matters regarding those rules.
How Colorado Rules are Promulgated
An agency can issue rules and regulations only if the legislative branch has granted such authority.  The statute or enabling legislation grants the agency the authority to promulgate rules and regulations in order to implement specific legislative policy.

All regulations must be issued in accordance with the State Administrative Procedure Act (C.R.S. § 24-4-101, et seq.), which has three requirements for promulgation:
  1. Notify the public when an agency plans to promulgate new regulations or change existing ones
  2. Publish proposed regulations and solicit public comment
  3. Publish final regulations before they go into effect

The Colorado Secretary of State illustrates the rulemaking process as indicated below:

Executive Branch Websites and Resources
Governor's website
The Governor's website provides information about the current Colorado Governor and links to the archived pages of former Governors going back to 1997.  Researchers can access most documents issued by the Governor's office, including press releases, executive orders, state of the state speeches, and letters and proclamations.
Lieutenant Governor's website
This website provides information on the initiatives and committees of the Lt. Governor of Colorado.  It also provides access to the Lt. Governor's press releases and any relevant audio and video of the Lt. Governor.
Colorado Secretary of State's website
The Colorado Secretary of State (SOS) provides access to many valuable resources.  It includes access to the official versions of the Colorado Register and Code of Colorado Regulations, state business, trademark and trade name filings, and elections and voting information.  The SOS also oversees the licensing of bingos and raffles, lobbyists, and notary publics, so the application forms and information about those already licensed are available from the website.
Colorado State Treasury's website
The Colorado State Treasury website provides access to and information regarding the Treasurer's Initiatives, State Finances (including access to the state's investments and revenues and the Treasury Reports), and Unclaimed Property.
Colorado Attorney General's website
As the legal representation for the state, the Attorney General's website provides information regarding business and licensing, civil litigation and employment law, consumer protection, criminal justice, natural resources, and state services.  The Attorney General also issues a number of documents that are accessible from the website, including AG Opinions (going back to 1984).  For more information about AG Opinions, please see the Colorado Administrative Law Research guide.
Locating State Agencies
When researching Colorado administrative law and information about the executive branch, it is often important to identify the appropriate state agency.  This is important both because the Code of Colorado Regulations codifies the rules and regulations by agency and because some agencies provide other useful information on their websites.  Sometimes the enabling legislation explicitly names the agency with the authority, but not always.

If the agency is not explicitly named in the statutes there are two other ways to locate the relevant state agency:

One way is to use the Colorado State Web Portal,  From the State Web Portal, click on the State Agencies link in the middle of the page.

Another way is to look at the "Grants of Rule Making Authority" section in the index of the official print version of the Colorado Revised Statutes.  This section cites the enabling legislation for each agency.  It is organized first by executive department and then by the agenicies within that department.  Because it is organized by department, if a researcher has already identified the relevant statutory section, the researcher may have to browse through several pages to identify the relevant agency.  However, if a researcher has located an agency using the steps above, this section could help to verify what authority the legislature has granted the agency.