Code Section
Colorado > Colorado Electoral Code > Fair Campaign Practices Act

1-45-116. Home rule counties and municipalities

Overview of Statute

Any county or municipality can adopt more stringent ordinances in respect to local elections.


Any home rule county or municipality may adopt ordinances or charter provisions with respect to its local elections that are more stringent than any of the provisions contained in this act. Any home rule county or municipality which adopts such ordinances or charter provisions shall not be entitled to reimbursement pursuant to subsection 1-45-112 (2). The requirements of article XXVIII of the state constitution and of this article shall not apply to home rule counties or home rule municipalities that have adopted charters, ordinances, or resolutions that address the matters covered by article XXVIII and this article.

Source: Initiated 96: Entire article R&RE, effective upon proclamation of the Governor, January 15, 1997.L. 2003: Entire section amended, p. 2161, § 7, effective June 3.

Editor’s note: This section is similar to former § 1-45-120 (1) as it existed prior to 1996.

Holding that because Colorado Springs, as a home rule municipality, enacted a campaign practices ordinance, this section expressly provides that neither the campaign finance provisions of the state constitution nor this article applies to a complaint submitted to the secretary of state (secretary) alleging that certain candidates for city council had violated the ordinance. Accordingly, an administrative law judge to whom the complaint had been forwarded by the secretary lacks subject matter jurisdiction over campaign practices arising out of the city’s elections and properly dismissed the complaint. The attempted referral of the complaint to the secretary conflicts with the clear intent of the general assembly to exclude home rule municipality elections from state disclosure requirements when the home rule municipality has adopted its own ordinances regulating campaign practices. In re City of Colo. Springs, 2012 COA 55, 277 P.3d 937.

1.Construction and application

Neither Article XXVIII of the Colorado Constitution nor the Colorado Fair Campaign Practices Act apply to home rule counties and municipalities that have charters or ordinances that address matters already covered by Article XXVIII and the Act.  Op.Atty.Gen.No. 03-1, January 13, 2003.

In the Colorado Constitution, local election matters are a power reserved for home rule entities.  Therefore, the charter or ordinances of a home rule entity addressing campaign financing and reporting of candidates to office at the county or municipal level, control within that home rule entity, whether or not they are more stringent than constitutional provisions or statutory rules.  Op.Atty.Gen.No. 03-1, January 13, 2003.

The prohibition set forth in Section 3(4)(a) of Article XXVIII is not applicable to candidates for local election in home rule or statutory localities.  Op.Atty.Gen.No. 03-1, January 13, 2003.


Definition [State]

A state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. C.R.S. § 1-8.3-102.

Definition [Section]

A bound compilation of initiative forms approved by the secretary of state, which shall include pages that contain the warning required by section 1-40-110 (1), the ballot title, the abstract required by section 1-40-110 (3), and a copy of the proposed measure; succeeding pages that contain the warning, the ballot title, and ruled lines numbered consecutively for registered electors’ signatures; and a final page that contains the affidavit required by section 1-40-111 (2). Each section shall be consecutively prenumbered by the petitioner prior to circulation.

Definition [Election]

Any election under the “Uniform Election Code of 1992” or the “Colorado Municipal Election Code of 1965”, article 10 of title 31, C.R.S. C.R.S. § 1-7.5-103.

Definition [Secretary]

The Colorado secretary of state. C.R.S. § 1-1.5-102.

Definition [Candidate]

Any person who seeks nomination or election to any state or local public office that is to be voted on in this state at any primary election, general election, school district election, special district election, or municipal election. “Candidate” also includes a judge or justice of any court of record who seeks to be retained in office pursuant to the provisions of section 25 of article VI. A person is a candidate for election if the person has publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office or retention of a judicial office and thereafter has received a contribution or made an expenditure in support of the candidacy. A person remains a candidate for purposes of this article so long as the candidate maintains a registered candidate committee. A person who maintains a candidate committee after an election cycle, but who has not publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office in the next or any subsequent election cycle, is a candidate for purposes of this article. Section 2(2) of article XXVIII of the state constitution.


Colorado Cases

Case Name: In re City of Colo. Springs

Citation: 277 P.3d 937 (Colo. App. 2012)

Year: 2012

Case URL:

Case Summary: Holding that city was excluded from the penalty provisions of the constitution and the Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA) for campaign finance violations related to campaign finances; and Administrative Law Judge lacked jurisdiction over campaign practices complaints arising out of city's mayoral elections.

Case Name: Patterson Recall Comm., Inc. v. Patterson

Citation: 209 P.3d 1210 (Colo. App. 2009)

Year: 2009

Case URL:

Case Summary: Holding that Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) had the authority to sanction an issue committee for violating campaign finance laws; until it was terminated, issue committee was required to continue submitting contribution and expenditure reports after county clerk determined it had not gathered enough signatures to trigger a recall; an ALJ had the discretion to not impose a sanction for a violation of campaign laws; ALJ did not abuse her discretion by not sanctioning the committee for its failure to file reports; and committee's appeal was not frivolous.

Case Name: Independence Inst. v. Coffman

Citation: 209 P.3d 1130 (Colo. App. 2008)

Year: 2008

Case URL:

Case Summary: Holding that the phrase “a major purpose” in constitutional campaign and political finance provision defining “issue committee” was not unconstitutionally vague on its face; definition of “issue committee” was not unconstitutionally overbroad on its face; organization had standing to assert that registration and disclosure requirements unconstitutionally burdened its First Amendment rights; organization had impermissibly changed its unconstitutional burden claim on appeal from a facial to an as-applied challenge; and required disclosure of contributions did not violate organization's right to engage in anonymous speech and association.

Case Name: Colo. Common Cause v. Coffman

Citation: 85 P.3d 551 (Colo. App. 2003)

Year: 2003

Case URL:

Case Summary: Holding that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) did not err in finding that the state treasurer violated the law by expending more than $50 in public funds urging voters to defeat a measure and that the ALJ had authority to impose a monetary sanction for this violation.

Case Name: Denver Area Labor Fed’n v. Buckley

Citation: 924 P.2d 524 (Colo. 1996)

Year: 1996

Case URL:

Case Summary: Holding that monies in a fund administered by the the Colorado Compensation Insurance Authority constitute “public monies” for purposes of the part of the Act prohibiting state and political subdivision entities from expending “public monies from any source” to urge electors to vote yes or no on issues before the electorate.

Case Name: Regents of the Univ. of Colo. v. Meyer

Citation: 899 P.2d 316 (Colo. App. 1995)

Year: 1995

Case URL:

Case Summary: Holding that a challenge to a newsletter was properly limited to only one of two contested paragraphs and that there was no competent evidence in the record to support the Secretary of State's determination that public funds expended in connection with that contested paragraph exceeded the $50 statutory limit.

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: Campbell v. Joint Dist. 28-J

Citation: 704 F.2d 501 (10th Cir. 1983)

Federal Circuit Court: 10th Circuit Court

Year: 1983

Case URL:

Case Summary: Holding that school district and city expenditures related to referendum proposal regarding elector approval of new/increased taxes were not authorized by statute or by the provision of Campaign Reform Act governing contributions involving issues in which the state and political subdivisions have “official concern.”

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