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Archives Interim 2005 Sunset Review

Audiologist and Hearing Aid Dealer Regulation



Eight entities and functions of Colorado government are scheduled to terminate on July 1, 2007.  Under the Colorado sunset review process, these entities and functions will be reviewed by standing committees of the Senate 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. 

In Colorado, the task of conducting sunset reviews is assigned to standing committees (committees of reference) of the General Assembly. Standing committees of the Senate conduct sunset reviews for the entities and functions scheduled to terminate in 2007. (Senate standing committees conduct sunset reviews for entities with sunset dates in odd-numbered years; House standing committees conduct sunset reviews for entities with sunset dates in even-numbered years.)  


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 function of government 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. 



Controlled Substance Recordkeeping - Department of Human Services
Environmental Management System Permit Program
Life Insurance, Regulation of
Motor Vehicle Dealer Board
Racing Events, Division of, including the Colorado Racing Commission
Read-to-Achieve Board
Veterans Affairs, Board of




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 that led to the initial regulation have changed; and whether other conditions have arisen that 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 Senate during the 2007 session and proceed through the normal legislative process. The President of the Senate will assign the bills to the same committee that conducted the sunset hearing. The Senate committees of reference will 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 passing out of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, 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, 2006.  They can be obtained by clicking on the name of the board to the left or by contacting Legislative Council Staff.


Sunrise Process


Interpreters for the Deaf
Occupational Therapists
Private Investigators
Private Security Companies and Private Security Guards
 Hemodialysis Technicians

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.  If a sunrise application is submitted to the department before July 1 of any year, it provides a completed sunrise report to the proponents and to the General Assembly on October 15 of the year following the submission of the application.  Under state law, the General Assembly cannot consider the regulation of more than five occupations or professions in any one legislative session.

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 as to whether regulation of an occupation or profession is needed.  This determination is based upon the following considerations:


Whether the unregulated practice of the occupation or profession clearly harms or endangers the health, safety, or welfare of the public, and whether the potential for the harm is easily recognizable and not remote or dependent upon tenuous argument;

Whether the public needs, and can reasonably be expected to benefit from, an assurance of initial and continuing professional or occupational competence; and 

Whether the public can be adequately protected by other means in a more cost-effective manner.




  (See the Department of Regulatory Agencies Web site for more information on Sunrise / Sunset criteria)

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