Committees of Reference

House Committees of Reference   Authorization
House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources   House Rule 25 (a)
House Appropriations   House Rule 25 (a)
House Business Affairs & Labor   House Rule 25 (a)
House Education   House Rule 25 (a)
House Finance   House Rule 25 (a)
House Health, Insurance and Environment   House Rule 25 (a)
House Judiciary   House Rule 25 (a)
House Local Government   House Rule 25 (a)
House Public Health Care and Human Services   House Rule 25 (a)
House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs   House Rule 25 (a)
House Transportation and Energy   House Rule 25 (a)
Senate Committees of Reference    
Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy   Senate Rule 22 (a)
Senate Appropriations   Senate Rule 22 (a)
Senate Business, Labor and Technology   Senate Rule 22 (a)
Senate Education   Senate Rule 22 (a)
Senate Finance   Senate Rule 22 (a)
Senate Health and Human Services   Senate Rule 22 (a)
Senate Judiciary   Senate Rule 22 (a)
Senate Local Government   Senate Rule 22 (a)
Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs   Senate Rule 22 (a)
Senate Transportation   Senate Rule 22 (a)

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:
  • a description of the sunset review process;
  • the criteria considered in the extension of an entity or function of Colorado government; and
  • the options available to a committee of reference in making recommendations to the General Assembly after conducting sunset hearings.

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:

  • 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 warrent more, less, or the same degree of regulation;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • whether an analysis of agency operations indicates that the agency performs its statutory duties efficiently and effectively;
  • 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;
  • the economic impact of regulation and, if national economic information is not available, whether the agency stimulates or restricts competition;
  • whether complaint, investigation, and disciplinary procedures adequately protect the public and whether final dispositions of complaints are in the public interest or are self-serving to the profession;
  • whether the scope of practice of the regulated occupation contributes to the optimum utilization of personnel and whether entry requirements encourage affirmative action; and
  • whether administrative and statutory changes are necessary to improve agency operations to enhance the public interest.

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.