Overview of the Colorado General Assembly
Colorado has a bicameral legislature called the General Assembly, which is organized similarly to the U.S. Congress. The Colorado General Assembly includes the Colorado House of Representatives, which has 65 members, and the Colorado Senate, which has 35 members. State House members serve for 2-year terms and are limited to 4 consecutive terms in office. State Senate members serve for 4 years and are limited to 2 consecutive terms in office. Term-limited former House and Senate members may run for office again after a 4-year break. Every two years there is an election for the General Assembly. During every election, all State House seats are up for election and roughly half of the State Senate seats are up for election. The next election for General Assembly legislators takes place in November 2018.
Based on the 2010 census of the state population, each of the 65 House members represent ~77,000 constituents and each of the 35 Senators represent ~144,000 constituents. As of the 2016 Colorado elections, the Democrats have a majority in the House, with 37 Democrats to 28 Republicans, while the Republicans have a majority in the Senate, with 18 Republicans and 17 Democrats.
The Colorado General Assembly creates laws in a similar manner to the U.S. Congress. Just like in the Congress, a bill can be started in either chamber and must pass through a committee before being voted on by the chamber. The bill must pass both chambers before going to the governor. The whole process is long, but it appears to be no more complex than the Federal process.
Monitoring your representatives and monitoring new bills
The main Colorado General Assembly website has a lot of resources including the daily schedule for both chambers of the assembly. Although the General Assembly “Find a Bill” option allows you to search for active bills, the website does not offer an email alert option, like congress.gov. The Denver post has a Bill Tracker website, but although it allows you to forward the information by email, it does not have email alerts when there are changes to the status of the bill. To get automatic alerts, you need to subscribe to commercial websites that offer that service.
You can look up your legislator by name and find the bills and resolutions that they have sponsored. If you don’t know who your state legislators are then you can find them using this map. Also, I found it useful to see the boundaries of the various Colorado State Senate districts and Colorado State House districts. (Turns out that since I live in Lafayette, I am in a different State Senate district than everyone in Boulder.)
Finally, the General Assembly publicly releases online a number of useful publications, including the budget.