Colorado has had only one constitution since it became a state in August 1876. It has been amended many times since its adoption. An amendment to the constitution may be proposed by the legislature, by initiative, or by a constitutional convention. To become effective, an amendment must be approved by a majority of the people voting on the issue in an election.
The executive branch of the state government is headed by a governor, who is elected for a term of four years. The governor appoints most state department and division heads and commissioners. The governor also has the power to veto any laws except those that the voters approve by direct referendum. Other elected executive officials are the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and treasurer, all of whom are elected for four-year terms.
The General Assembly, as the state legislature is called, consists of a 35-member Senate and a 65-member House of Representatives. Senators are elected for four-year terms and representatives for two-year terms. The General Assembly meets yearly in Denver. The governor may also call special sessions. Bills vetoed by the governor can become law if passed by two-thirds of each legislative house.
The highest court in Colorado is the state supreme court, which is mainly a court of appeal. The seven supreme court justices elect one of their number to serve as chief justice. In addition, there are district courts, each of which has one or more judges. The governor appoints judges to the state supreme court and to the district courts.
After serving provisional terms, appointees must run for election. Supreme court judges are elected for ten-year terms and district court judges for six-year terms. Lower courts include county, municipal, and police courts.
There are 63 counties in Colorado. County officials include three or five elected commissioners, a clerk, sheriff, coroner, treasurer, surveyor, assessor, and judge, justices of the peace, and law enforcement officers. However, Denver County, which is coextensive with the city of Denver, has no county government. The city and county are governed by a mayor and council. Most cities have the mayor and council or council and city manager form of municipal government.
Colorado elects two U.S. senators and seven members of the House of Representatives. The state casts nine electoral votes in presidential elections. "Colorado" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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