Sunset Reviews Conducted by Standing Committees
By law, a number of entities, functions, and boards within Colorado government are scheduled to terminate each July. The following are scheduled to terminate in 2014:
Controlled Substances Act, Colorado Licensing of - 2013 Sunset Review
Dental Examiners, State Board of - 2013 Sunset Review
Fire Suppression Registration and Inspection Program, Colorado - 2013 Sunset Reviews
Home Care Agencies, Licensure of - 2013 Sunset Review
In-Home Support Services - 2013 Sunset Review
Natural Areas Council - 2013 Sunset Review
Nurse-Physician Advisory Task Force for Colorado Health Care - 2013 Sunset Review
Outfitters, Regulation of - 2013 Sunset Review
Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act - 2013 Sunset Review
Volunteer Firefighter Advisory Committee - 2013 Sunset Review
Workers' Compensation Accreditation Program, Colorado - 2013 Sunset Review
This website provides:
The Sunset Process Allows the 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 require the legislature 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 industry and professions are not over-regulated.
Under the Colorado sunset review process, the responsibility for conducting sunset reviews alternates between the committees of reference in the House and in the Senate. Sunset reviews are conducted by Senate committees in odd numbered years and in House committees in even numbered years.
The Executive Branch Conducts an Initial Review of Entities and Functions
The Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) serves as the executive branch department responsible for conducting a study of the entity or government function prior to the legislative sunset hearings. DORA produces a "sunset report" by October 15 for each entity and function scheduled to sunset on the following July 1. This sunset report describes the history of the entity, examines the laws that created the entity, and makes recommendations regarding changes to the laws and the continuation of the entity.
The General Assembly Conducts Public Reviews of the Regulatory Functions
In conducting a sunset review, a legislative committee reviews recommendations from DORA concerning the continuation of the entity or government function in question. The review is conducted at a public hearing that occurs after the report is published and at the beginning of the legislative session. The committee also takes testimony from interested members of the public and from program administrators.
The 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 there is a public need for its continued existence and that its regulation is the least restrictive regulation consistent with the public interest. To determine whether a public need exists for the entity or government function and the degree of regulation necessary, the following factors are considered:
The Committee of Reference Has Several Options for Recommendations
A committee of reference 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 with the recommendation to the full General Assembly. 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.
A committee of reference 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 year for the purpose of "winding up affairs." For example, if during the 2014 legislative session, an entity is allowed to terminate, it will "wind up" its affairs by one year after the specified termination date, or by July 1, 2015.
Sunset Bills Follow the Same Procedures As Other Bills During the Legislative Session
Any bills recommended at sunset hearings by committees of reference will be introduced during the legislative session and proceed through the normal legislative process. If sunset hearings are conducted in the Senate, then the sunset bills will also be introduced in the Senate. The President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House is required to assign the bills to the same committee that conducted the sunset hearing. The committees of reference hold public hearings on the bills and may kill them or pass them on to the full body for second and third readings.
If the bill survives the first chamber, the process is repeated in the other chamber. After both the House and the Senate adopt the bill, it is 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.