The Colorado Administrative Procedure Act (“Act”) is found in Title 24, Article 4, of the Colorado Revised Statutes. According to C.R.S. 24-4-101.5 state agencies have a responsibility to observe the economic impact of its actions and re-examine the economic impact of its continuing actions to conclude if such actions promote public interest. The section also says that an agency must not regulate or restrict the freedom of any person unless that action benefits public interest and persuade benefits of a free enterprise system for the citizens of Colorado.
C.R.S. 24-4-103 discusses the rule making procedures under the Act. This section is applicable when agencies are permitted by law to make rules. This section is not applicable when agencies interpret rules or make general statements of policy. In an agency’s interpretation of a rule is substantially different from the earlier interpretation, then the office of legislative legal services will review that rule as if it is newly adopted or amended. Agencies must make public announcement of the proposed rule and must provide opportunity to interested persons to submit their views and participate informally in related conferences. At the time of filing notice of proposed rule making before the secretary of state, the secretary requires the agency to submit a draft of the proposed rule also before the executive director in the department of regulatory agencies. The executive director or his/her designee will decide if the proposed rule has some negative impact. If it has some negative impact, then s/he or his/her designee will direct the agency to perform a cost-benefit analysis of that proposed rule. The cost-benefit analysis must include the following:
- reason for the rule or amendment;
- anticipated costs of the rule or amendment;
- anticipated economic benefits of the rule or amendment;
- if the rule or amendment causes any undesirable effect on economy, consumers, private markets, small businesses, job creation, and economic competitiveness;
- at least any two alternatives for the proposed rule or amendment.
After studying the cost-benefit analysis the executive director or his/her assignee will insist the agency to make changes in the rule or amendment so as to reduce the negative impact. Further any documents used by the agency for making the rule or amendment will be considered as a public document and will be open for public inspection. An administrative agency must review each proposed rules and should adopt a rule only if:
- the record of rule-making shows a need for regulation;
- the rule or regulation does not conflict with other provisions of law;
- the regulation is clearly stated and its meaning will be understood by any party;
- proper statutory authority exists for the regulation;
- copying or overlapping of regulations is explained by the agency proposing the rule.
An agency must maintain a rule-making record which contains:
- copies or Colorado register which contains statements related to the concerned rule or the proceedings upon which it is based;
- copies of any portions of agency’s public rule-making docket;
- written lists of all petitions, requests and submissions received by the agency;
- any official transcript of oral presentations made in the proceeding upon which the rule is based;
- a copy of regulatory analysis or cost-benefit analysis;
- copy of the rule and explanatory statement filed in the office of the secretary of state and;
- A copy of any filed executive order with respect to the rule.
C.R.S. 24-4-104 discusses the licensing provisions. According to this section when application for license is made, the agency after considering the rights and privileges of all interested persons, will conduct proceedings in accordance with this article. An agency can also suspend, revoke or modify the license if it finds that the licensee is guilty of deliberate violation of the license provisions or that the public health safety requires immediate action. But revocation or suspension of license could be done only after conducting “full investigation” and after giving proper notice in writing.
According to C.R.S. 24-4-104, an agency action is subject to judicial review. An agency can commence an action before a court of competent jurisdiction for enforcement of its final order, and in such a situation any person aggrieved or adversely affected by agency decision can obtain judicial review of such action. Aggrieved party can also initiate an action for judicial review before the district court.
According to C.R.S. 24-4-107, the Act is applicable to every state agencies having state wide territorial jurisdiction. Agencies in legislative or judicial branches, courts-martial, military commissions, and arbitration and mediation functions are exempted from the scope of this Act. This Act also applies to every other agency specifically referred by any other specific statutes. But if there is conflict between the other specific statute relating to other agency and this Act then the other specific statute will have control over that other agency.