Sunset Provision

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Sunset Provision

A statutory provision providing that a particular agency, benefit, or law will expire on a particular date, unless it is reauthorized by the legislature.

Federal and state governments grew dramatically in the 1950s and 1960s. Many Executive Branch administrative agencies were established to oversee government programs. The escalation of government budgets and the perception that government bureaucracy was not accountable led Congress and many state legislatures in the 1970s to enact "sunset" laws.

Sunset laws state that a given agency will cease to exist after a fixed period of time unless the legislature reenacts its statutory charter. Sunset provisions differ greatly in their details, but they share the common belief that it is useful to compel the Congress or a state legislature to periodically reexamine its delegations of authority and to assess the utility of those delegations in the light of experience.

There are two types of sunset provisions. In some instances the statute creating a particular Administrative Agency contains a sunset provision applicable only to that agency. In other instances a state may enact a general sunset law that may eliminate any agency that is unable to demonstrate its effectiveness.

Sunset provisions have had a checkered history. Although they were popular at the state level in the 1970s and early 1980s, sunset laws have produced mixed results, and many states have repealed ineffective sunset legislation. Few agencies have been terminated under sunset provisions, in part because agencies develop constituents who do not want the service to end. In addition, the cost of disbanding agencies and reassigning work can be expensive.

Attempts to pass a federal sunset law in the 1990s, which would have required formal reauthorization of federal programs every ten years, were unsuccessful. Advocates of accountability have abandoned the idea of "sunsetting" agencies and have sought to strengthen agency reauthorization requirements by incorporating rigorous performance measurements and enforcing appropriate discipline in government.

In addition to their application to government agencies, sunset provisions have been applied to laws themselves and to benefits, such as immigration benefits. Without reauthorization by the legislature, the law or benefit ceases on a particular date.

References in periodicals archive ?
A personal representative of an estate of a decedent who dies on or after January 1, 2013, should be aware of the sunset provisions of the 2001 and 2010 tax acts.
And, it indicated that it would not be inclined to include similar review and sunset provisions (Roach, at p 26 and 28).
But the broader point is that not that sunset provisions, or other administrative procedures, will necessarily hinder democratic responsiveness but simply that this is a possibility.
Under the EGTRRA sunset provision, the estate tax repeal was to be in effect for 2010 only.
If the PATRIOT Act is constitutional and badly needed, why were sunset provisions included at all?
The public is better served with a permanent solution rather than a repeal solution that has potentially misunderstood sunset provisions that could negate reform in any form," he said.
No one component stands out as the clear culprit, but together, three elements in particular--claim values, sunset provisions and pre-emption--have kept FAIR from becoming law.
She will be "looking closely for sunset provisions, such as an estate tax that is supposed to be repealed in 2010 and return in 2011.
Consider the congressional fight against Total Information Awareness, against a national ID card, the sunset provisions in the PATRIOT Act and the efforts to repeal it, medical privacy, the regulation of wiretaps.
However, under the sunset provisions, distributions after 2010 are taxable.
Indeed, Tax Act 2001 has its own self-destruct mechanism incorporated in its sunset provisions (Sec.
The section discusses: (1) permissible investments; (2) prohibitions on routinely managing or operating a portfolio company; (3) portfolio company holding periods; (4) private equity funds, including restrictions on their management and operation; (5) automatic sunset provisions for aggregate investment thresholds in portfolio companies; (6) risk management, reporting, and recordkeeping policies; (7) cross-marketing restrictions; and (8) presumptions of control under sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act and the safe harbors to the rebuttable presumption.