Local Governments Set Home Rules

Since reporting on the perks Denver City Council members have received, the question presented itself: does Amendment 41 apply to local governments as well?

After all, the new law voters passed last year is supposed to control what gifts public officials can receive, right?

Well, it depends where you are. If you live in an urban area there’s a good chance that your city has already made rules regarding ethics and will not be under the new law’s jurisdiction, while more rural areas must adhere to Amendment 41.

This is because of a clause in the law that allows “home rule” municipalities to skirt the amendment if there are already regulations in place dealing with ethics and gifts.

The Colorado Municipal League provides a detailed list of home rule cities which include Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Grand Junction.

Rural areas under Amendment 41 include non-home rule municipalities like Holly, Westcliffe, and Pitkin.

So if your a public official living in Estes Park wanting to receive gifts from rural lobbyists, tough luck.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.