Colorado Nurses Association: 100 for 100 Initiative

How to talk to your legislator about the Sunset Review of the Colorado Nurse Practice Act

 Thank you for volunteering for this important initiative!  It is a very exciting time for healthcare legislation and for nursing in Colorado.  In order to help you be successful in your efforts, we have created this tip sheet for contacting your legislator and talking points about the sunset of the Colorado Nurse Practice Act in 2020.  This may seem complicated, but it is really not! The below information is just to supplement your knowledge if you are interested in finding out more.

If you have further questions or need assistance, please contact [email protected].

Who regulates nursing practice in the state of Colorado?

The Board of Nursing (BON) regulates nursing practice in the state of Colorado.  Although this may seem obvious, there are other states where nursing practice is regulated by medical boards. The board of nursing (and other boards) are regulated by the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). The job of the BON is to protect the Colorado public from harm by ensuring that we are safe to practice.

Board of Nursing:


What is the Colorado Nurse Practice Act? 

The Nurse Practice Act is a law that works together with the rules and regulations in the state of Colorado to govern safe nursing practice. This act provides the framework for safe, competent nursing practice. Included in the Nurse Practice Act are (1) the definition of “The Practice of Professional Nursing”, (2) Laws on creation of the Board of Nursing, its composition, and its function (3) Requirements for Licensure and Prescriptive Authority, (4) Delegation Law, and (5) Disciplinary Procedures.

To find out about Nurse Practice Acts in general, here is a helpful article:

To access our Colorado Nurse Practice Act:

What is a sunset review?  

Every 10 years, all regulatory agencies in the state of Colorado must be re-evaluated to determine whether they should continue to exist for the good of the public.  It is the duty of The Colorado Office of Policy Research and Regulatory Reform (COPRRR- often spoken as “Co-Per”) to perform these reviews.  When a review is conducted, input from all stakeholders in Colorado is welcomed and assessed.  Information is gathered from agency officials, associations, literature, task forces, other state programs, and consumer advocacy groups, to name a few. This review is going on CURRENTLY. 

What happens? 

COPRRR collects all their data and then makes a recommendation to the Colorado legislature to continue the Board of Nursing and the Nurse Practice Act, or to eliminate the Board of Nursing, and hence regulation of nursing in Colorado.  It is called a sunset, as the sun will set on this board if not reapproved by the legislature for the next 10 year period.  This vote will occur in the 2020 Legislative Season (January through May).

Option (1): The General Assembly (Legislature) does not pass this bill to continue with the Nurse Practice Act.  The Board of Nursing will dissolve and there will be no regulation of nursing in the State of Colorado. This is very dangerous to both the public and to nurses in Colorado.

Option (2):  The General Assembly (Legislature) passes the bill to continue with the Nurse Practice Act.  The Board of Nursing will continue.  The next sunset will occur in 2030.

For more information on COPRRR and sunset in general:

Is there anything else that occurs during this review? 

Yes!  This is a great opportunity for nurses to advocate for the highest level of practice within our scope.  This includes important issues like protecting the title of “Registered Nurse”, removing barriers for APRNs to prescribe medications in the state of Colorado, and protecting the personal information of licensed nurses, including information regarding alternative to discipline programs that allow nurses with mental health or substance use concerns to continue to practice safely.  Nursing may gain great strides to removing barriers to practice and providing quality care to the people of Colorado. Nurses may face opposition to expansion of practice from other organizations, and it is crucial that we make our voice heard in the legislature.

Steps to talking with your legislator:

  1. Find out about them. Remember, they are people just like you—no need to be intimidated.  You already share a common ground, as you live in the same community. Oftentimes, your legislator will talk about how they know a nurse (their neighbor, their mother, their brother). You can relate to this! You can go to to gather information. Just type in your address and the names and district numbers for your representative and senator will appear. Click on their picture and their information will come up, including what bills they have sponsored, occupation, party affiliation, and assigned committees. Follow them on social media.

You can email or call the office for an appointment. Whether you call or email, do the following:

  1. Introduce yourself.  If you happen to talk to staff or cannot reach them, do not get discouraged.  They are busy people. Talking to one of their staff members can be very productive, as they will relay your information to your legislator. If you do talk directly to your legislator, address them as “Senator” or “Representative”. Give them your name, where you are from, and let them know that you are a constituent (a voter). Maybe even tell a personal story that highlights your experience as a nurse or as a consumer of healthcare in Colorado. 
  1. State your main message- Supporting the removal of barriers to nursing practice to increase access to care and provide quality healthcare to the constituents of Colorado.  You have information on this above.  A simple way to say this is, “I would like your support for continuation of the Colorado Nurse Practice Act and support for nurses in removing all barriers to practice in the state of Colorado.”  If they ask you questions you do not know the answer to, IT IS OKAY! Just answer to the best of your ability, tell them you are unsure, and that you can provide the information in a follow-up contact. 
  1. Thank them for their time. Leave your contact information. 
  1. Follow up! This can be done by email. Thank them again.  Include information, if you stated during your interaction that you would provide it. Then if you contact them again at a later date, you can remind them of the last interaction you had with them or their staff.