Jerry Kopel


Dear Speaker Russ George and President Ray Powers:

Last year, I wrote a series of articles about the legislature having "considered" more than five new occupations or professions in 1999 in violation of the Sunrise-Sunset law. You responded in August with a letter to the Statesman editor. The important part stated:

"...we should admit we may have a problem -- the statute is apparently ambiguous in part. When the General Assembly leaves a statute subject to several different interpretations, we have not done our job well enough..."

The present law, CRS 24-34-104.1 (6) provides "The general assembly shall not consider the regulation of more than five occupations or professions in any one session of the general assembly."

Your suggested version of how to change the law (to limit the number of Sunrise reviews to five per year) would not do very much, since the Dept. of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) RARELY does review as many as five new applications for licensing or registration.

However, you both did promise in another portion of the letter a bill, and none has been introduced. My suggestion is to use DORA as the proper sounding board. The issue is always going to be whether there is a bill containing an occupation or profession that is not specifically presently set out in the statutes, and which has not had a Sunrise application review.

Allow ten legislators in the house where the bill is lodged by petition through the President or Speaker to request a response from DORA as to whether or not there should be, under present law, a Sunrise review before proceeding with the bill. You would not be delegating legislative authority to DORA since it would be within your province as President or Speaker to decide whether to accept their recommendation.

You could do the above by a House/Senate Joint Rule, and then by bill provide as suggested by Legal Services attorney Bart Miller "that in any given session the general assembly may not enact more than five bills dealing with the regulation of new professions and occupations."

After the close of the legislative session, this column will recite the number of new occupations or professions considered by the legislature in 2000, and it may well be more than five.

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