Advocacy & Legal
In This Section
2020 Colorado Laws Enacted Affecting Municipal Governments is now available. Past editions are available here.
The Statehouse Report is published every Monday during the Legislative Session.
CML produces position papers on bills throughout the legislative session. Click here to view.
- Take a look at CML's priorities for the 2020 Legislative Session.
Colorado Supreme Court Affirms Municipal Authority to Regulate Firearms
July 7, 2020
In late June, the Colorado Supreme Court in Rocky Mountain Gun Owners v. Polis, 18SC817 (Colo. 2020), unanimously upheld a 2013 state statute that prohibits large-capacity ammunition magazines, defined as more than 15 rounds, typically associated with semi-automatic weapons. C.R.S. § 18-12-301 et seq. The Court held that this law does not violate the right to bear arms found under Art. II, Sec. 13 of the Colorado Constitution because the state general assembly used a reasonable exercise of police power in enacting the statute.
The decision is important for municipalities because the Court affirmed and clarified the standards that apply in a lawsuit over a local or state firearms law. The Court clarified that right to bear arms is not an unlimited right and is subject to reasonable regulation. The standard in Colorado that a court uses to see whether the law should be upheld is called “reasonable exercise test” and originates from Robertson v. City & County of Denver, 874 P.2d 325 (Colo. 1994).
Tenth Circuit Holds Curfew on Door-to-Door Commercial Solicitors Violation of First Amendment
June 15, 2020
On May 15, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a 7:00 p.m. curfew for door-to-door commercial solicitors because it did not survive First Amendment scrutiny under the Central Hudson test, affirming the district court’s judgment, which concluded that Castle Rock has failed to demonstrate that the curfew advances its substantial interests in a direct and material way. CML filed an amicus brief in support of Castle Rock in this case.
New in the Courts
Denver Ordinance Prohibiting Camping Withstands District Court Scrutiny
September 18, 2020The question of whether camping ordinances violate an individual’s right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment has resurfaced. In this case, a Denver District Court judge upheld Denver's ordinance prohibiting camping on public property as constitutional, facially and as applied. Facially, the court determined the ordinance neither distinguished based on status nor criminalized status. The court held that the ordinance was not directed to homelessness, but rather was directed to an activity that is often associated with homelessness. As applied, the record showed that the police did not target the defendant based on his status and that the police offered shelter, which he refused. The court held the ordinance constitutional as applied in this case because the evidence showed the police were not “motivated by a discriminatory purpose nor a desire to harm a ‘politically unpopular group,’ and thus there was no ‘animus’” on the part of the police.
While the decision landed in favor of Denver’s ordinance, the question remains: will the Colorado Supreme Court weigh in on this topic du jour?
2019 Laws Enacted is Available