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Opinion Columns

Opinion: Coloradans deserve better than a clunky, confusing system that keeps too many in the dark

The state legislature is actively considering House Bill 1039, a bill that would create a website to quickly find proposed new state regulations.

You might be thinking: “Doesn’t this exist?” A website where you can easily find what’s under consideration seems common sense in today’s digital age.

But right now, information on agency rulemaking is spread across multiple sites, and each site requires the user to have a fairly sophisticated understanding of regulatory jargon in order to find information.

Anneliese Steel

Coloradans shouldn’t need to know the difference between an administrative rule and a revised statute in order to find what regulations impact their business. Unfortunately, this is just the kind of knowledge that is necessary to navigate the websites of today. 

Our clunky and duplicative system presents a barrier to entry for individuals and business owners who don’t have experienced professionals reviewing regulations on their behalf. Coloradans deserve better. 

READ: Colorado Sun opinion columnists.

Agencies do their best to share proposed rulemakings with impacted stakeholders, but the demographic that subscribes to these email lists is not representative of those impacted by regulatory changes.

The lack of a centralized platform, one that is intuitively searchable by the average citizen and business owner, means that many impacted communities may be excluded from the deliberative process simply because that process is too complicated.

With technology, we have the power to create an intuitive search tool that reduces barriers to entry for rulemaking, and it’s high time we make the investment.

Similar websites already exist at the state and federal level, including regulations.gov for federal regulations and state leaders like Virginia and Oregon.

A central clearinghouse for state regulations is an easy way to improve transparency in Colorado state government and better serve Coloradans in the information age. 

Anneliese Steel is the Corporate Affairs Director at Colorado Concern, an alliance of top executives with a common interest in enhancing and protecting the Centennial state’s business climate. 

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