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Archives Interim 2001 Sunset Review

COLORADO'S 2001 - 2002


Acupuncturists, Registration of Seven entities and functions of Colorado government are scheduled to terminate on July 1, 2002. Under the Colorado sunset review process, these entities and functions will be reviewed by the standing committees of the House in the coming months. This document provides: 
  • a description of the sunset review process;
  • a list of entities and functions to be reviewed; 
  • the criteria to be considered in the extension of an entity or function of Colorado government; and
  • the options that a standing committee has in making recommendations to the General Assembly after conducting its sunset hearings. 

Sunset Process Allows General Assembly to Review Regulatory Functions

Generally, a sunset law is a law that automatically terminates a state regulatory agency, board, or function of government on a certain date. A state legislature must act to continue the entity or function by passing a bill. Sunset laws cause legislatures to periodically review the need for state regulation or for advisory committees and to update the law creating the entity or function. These reviews seek to balance the need for regulation to protect the public interest with the need to ensure that state agencies, industry and the professions, and functions of government are not over-regulated. 

Civil Rights Division, Subpoena Powers of Director  
Controlled Substance Record Keeping
Insurance, Division of
Massage Parlors, Licensing of
Optometric Examiners, State Board of
Real Estate Appraisers, Board of

In Colorado, the task of conducting sunset reviews is assigned to standing committees (committees of reference) of the General Assembly. Standing committees of the House will conduct the sunset reviews for the entities and functions scheduled to terminate in 2002. (House standing committees conduct sunset reviews for entities with sunset dates in even-numbered years; Senate standing committees conduct sunset reviews for entities with sunset dates in odd-numbered years.) 


Committee Assignments for 2002 Terminations

The Speaker of the House has assigned the sunset reviews to the various House standing committees listed below.  The link for each agency or function provides the contact person for the committee and the scheduled meeting date if available.  

2002 Sunset Reviews of Agencies and Functions of Government

  • State Board of Optometric Examiners: HEWI

  • Regulation of Acupuncturist: HEWI

  • Licensing of Massage Parlors: Business Affairs and Labor

  • Board of Real Estate Appraisers: Business Affairs and Labor

  • Civil Rights Subpoena Power: Civil Justice and Judiciary

  • Controlled Substances Record Keeping by the Department of Human Services: Criminal Justice

  • Division of Insurance: Business Affairs and Labor


Executive Branch Conducts Initial Review of Entities and Functions

A department within the executive branch of state government conducts a study of the entity or government function prior to the legislative sunset hearings. The Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) will produce a "sunset report" by October 15, 2001, for each of the entities and functions scheduled to sunset on July 1, 2002. This sunset report describes the history of the entity, examines the laws which created the entity, and makes recommendations regarding changes to the law and continuation of the entity.


General Assembly Conducts Public Reviews of the Regulatory Functions

In conducting a sunset review, the committee reviews recommendations from the Department of Regulatory Agencies concerning continuation of the entity or function of government in question. The review is conducted at a public hearing which will likely occur in November or December. The committee also takes testimony from interested members of the public and any involved program administrators. The recommendations of the committees will be reviewed again when the General Assembly convenes in January. That is, standing committees of the General Assembly will hear any bills resulting from the sunset review process.  


Evaluation and Review of Entities and Functions Is Based on Statutory Criteria

Each entity and function scheduled for termination has the burden of demonstrating that a public need exists for its continued existence and that its regulation is the least restrictive regulation consistent with the public interest. The determination as to whether a public need exists for the entity or function of government, and for the degree of regulation it practices, is based on the following factors, among others:

  1. Whether regulation by the agency is necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare; whether the conditions which led to the initial regulation have changed; and whether other conditions have arisen which would warrant more, less, or the same degree of regulation;
  2. If regulation is necessary, whether the existing statutes and regulations establish the least restrictive form of regulation consistent with the public interest, considering other available regulatory mechanisms, and whether agency rules enhance the public interest and are within the scope of legislative intent;
  3. Whether the agency operates in the public interest and whether its operation is impeded or enhanced by existing statutes, rules, procedures, and practices and any other circumstances, including budgetary, resource, and personnel matters;
  4. Whether an analysis of agency operations indicates that the agency performs its statutory duties efficiently and effectively;
  5. Whether the composition of the agency's board or commission adequately represents the public interest and whether the agency encourages public participation in its decisions rather than participation only by the people it regulates;
  6. The economic impact of regulation and, if national economic information is not available, whether the agency stimulates or restricts competition;
  7. Whether complaint, investigation, and disciplinary procedures adequately protect the public and whether final dispositions of complaints are in the public interest or self-serving to the profession;
  8. Whether the scope of practice of the regulated occupation contributes to the optimum utilization of personnel and whether entry requirements encourage affirmative action; and
  9. Whether administrative and statutory changes are necessary to improve agency operations to enhance the public interest.


Standing Committee Has Several Options for Recommendations

A standing committee may recommend that an entity or function of government be continued or terminated. If the assigned committee believes that an entity or function should be continued, it recommends a bill to the full General Assembly to accomplish this. In addition to continuing the existence of the entity, the bill may also make adjustments to the area of the law establishing the entity. With the exception of advisory committees, entities and functions of government may be continued for any time period up to 15 years. There is no similar limitation on the continuation of advisory committees. Generally, after conducting a sunset review of an existing advisory committee and recreating the committee, the General Assembly has not placed time limits on the life of the committee.


A standing committee recommends termination of an entity or function simply by not proposing legislation for its continuation.  In the event that the General Assembly allows an entity or function of state government to terminate, the entity or function continues to exist for the next succeeding year for the purpose of "winding up affairs."


Sunset Bills Follow Procedures for Other Bills During Legislative Session

Any bills recommended at sunset hearings by committees of reference will be introduced in the House during the 2002 session and proceed through the normal legislative process. The Speaker of the House will assign the bills to the same committee that conducted the sunset hearing. The House committees of reference will hold public hearings on the bills and may kill the bill or pass it on to the full House for second and third reading.


If the bill survives the House, the process is repeated in the Senate. After passing out of both the Senate and the House of Representatives the bill is then sent to the Governor for action. The Governor may sign the bill into law, veto the bill, or permit the bill to become law without a signature.


Accessing Sunset Reports

Sunset reports are available after October 15, 2001.  They can be obtained by clicking on the name of the board to the left or by contacting Legislative Council Staff.

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