Archives SUNSET AND SUNRISE REVIEW PROCESSES 2008
2009 Sunset Committee Assignments
By law, a number of entities, functions, and boards within Colorado government are scheduled to terminate each July. Under the Colorado sunset review process, the entities and functions scheduled for termination on July 1, 2009, will be reviewed by Senate committees of reference in the coming months. This document provides:
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 toensure that industry and professions are not over-regulated.
In Colorado, the task of conducting sunset reviews is assigned to committees of reference of the General Assembly. Senate committees conduct sunset reviews for the entities and functions scheduled to terminate in 2009. (Senate committees conduct sunset reviews for entities with sunset dates in odd-numbered years; House committees conduct sunset reviews for entities with sunset dates in even-numbered years.)
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) 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 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, a legislative committee reviews recommendations from the Department of Regulatory Agencies concerning continuation of the entity or government function in question. The review is conducted at a public hearing that occurs after the report is published or at the beginning of the legislative session. The committee also takes testimony from interested members of the public and program administrators.
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:
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 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 Senate during the 2009 session and proceed through the normal legislative process. The President of the Senate is required to assign the bills to the same committee that conducted the sunset hearing. The Senate committees of reference hold public hearings on the bills and may kill the bills or pass them on to the full Senate for second and third reading.
If the bill survives the Senate, the process is repeated in the House. After both the House of Representatives and the Senate adopt the bill, the bill 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.
Accessing Sunset Reports
Sunset reports are available after October 15, 2008. 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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A "sunrise" process is provided in Colorado law for individuals who seek new regulation of occupations or professions. The process includes the preparation of a "sunrise report" by the Department of Regulatory Agencies that evaluates the need for the proposed regulation. To initiate the sunrise process, a proponent of new regulation must submit a sunrise application to the department. The department provides a completed sunrise report to the proponents and to the General Assembly within120 days of the submission of the application. Please note that the department may decline to conduct an analysis in specific circumstances.
Proponents of sunrise legislation have the obligation of finding sponsors for their sunrise bills. Once introduced, a sunrise bill is treated the same as any other bill. The department's sunrise report may be used as background information for the bill hearing.
Colorado law includes a list of criteria that the Department of Regulatory Agencies must consider in making a recommendation on whether regulation of an occupation or profession is needed. This determination is based upon the following considerations: