Policy Analysis | April 2011

Southern States' Sunset Regulations

Mikko Lindberg


With legislatively mandated review of 77 states entities on a four-year rotating schedule, Alabama is one of the Southern states with the most thorough sunset review process.

Sources: http://www.examiners.state.al.us/sunsetinfo/CommOperations.pdf; http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/acas/CodeofAlabama/1975/41-20-3.htm


In 1977, Arkansas adopted a sunset law to control and manage the proliferation of state boards and commissions. In 1983, led by then Governor Clinton and backed by both houses of the General Assembly, the state allowed its sunset law on boards and commissions to elapse.

Source: http://www.arkansaspolicyfoundation.org/policy/exec_summary_report.html


The 2006 Legislature enacted the Florida Government Accountability Act that established an agency sunset review process to be used by the Legislature to determine if a public need exists for the continuation of a state agency, its advisory committees, or its programs.

The Florida Government Accountability Act provided for the creation of the Joint Sunset Committee to oversee the independent review process and make recommendations to abolish, continue, or reorganize the agency under review. The act also provides that the Senate and House may conduct independent reviews regarding the scheduled agency sunsets.

The Florida Government Accountability Act requires reports and assistance from state agencies and the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA), creates a schedule to abolish state agencies and advisory committees, and sets criteria to be used in the sunset review process.

A reviewed agency may not be abolished unless all of the services for which the agency had responsibility have been repealed, revised, or reassigned; and adequate provisions have been made for all duties and obligations relating to debt.

The Joint Legislative Sunset Committee was not funded in the FY 2010-11 General Appropriations Act, and the Committee ceased operations on June 30, 2010.

(click here for further details regarding past operations of the Florida Joint Sunset Committee)

Source: http://www.floridasunsetreviews.gov/


There are bills in the 2011 legislative session to create a "Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee" but, currently, no such entity exists in Georgia.

Source: SLC research


Sunset provisions are added to certain entities created by legislation, but the commonwealth has no permanent sunset review committee or process.

Source: SLC research


House and Senate committees have the power to sunset agencies within their subject matter jurisdiction, but no official sunset review committee or process exists.

Source: SLC research


The state's Sunset Act was terminated on December 31, 1984.

Source: CSG Book of the States


The Committee on Legislative Research, Oversight Division, is an agency of the Missouri General Assembly as established in Chapter 23 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri. The programs and activities of the State of Missouri cost approximately $23.7 billion annually.

Each year the General Assembly enacts laws which add to, delete or change these programs. To meet the demands for more responsive and cost effective state government, legislators need to receive information regarding the status of the programs which they have created and the expenditure of funds which they have authorized. The work of the Oversight Division provides the General Assembly with a means to evaluate state agencies and state programs.

The Committee on Legislative Research is a permanent joint committee of the Missouri General Assembly comprised of the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and nine other members of the Senate and the chairman of the House Budget Committee and nine other members of the House of Representatives. The Senate members are appointed by the President Pro Tem of the Senate and the House members are appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. No more than six members from the House and six members from the Senate may be of the same political party.

The Joint Committee on Legislative Research is required to conduct a performance evaluation of the state entities to determine and evaluate program performance in accordance with program objectives, responsibilities, and duties as set forth by statute or regulation.

The report includes Oversight's comments on (1) the sunset, continuation, or reorganization of the program, and on the need for the performance of the functions of the program; (2) the duplication of program functions; (3) the appropriation levels for each program for which sunset or reorganization is recommended; and (4) drafts of legislation necessary to carry out the committee's recommendations pursuant to (1) and (2) above.

Source: http://www.moga.mo.gov/oversight/overhome.htm

(click here for more information regarding the Joint Committee on Legislative Research and its sunset powers)

North Carolina

North Carolina's sunset law terminated on July 30, 1981.

Source: CSG Book of the States


Oklahoma law establishes the sunset of seven to eighteen state entities every year unless they are "re-created" by the Legislature. The House and the Senate both have sunset review committees that are charged with determining whether or not to continue the operations of the state entities under review. The State Auditor and Inspector is required to provide any information requested by a sunset review committee regarding a state entity, and the committees have the power to terminate any entity prior to the date created by the legislation establishing a schedule.

Source: http://www.ok.gov/opm/HR_Rules_and_Statutes/Statutes_-_Oklahoma_Sunset_Law.html

(click here for further details regarding Oklahoma sunset law)

South Carolina

The state's sunset law was repealed in 1998.

Source: CSG Book of the States


Tennessee's sunset law (Section 4-29-101 et seq.) requires that each agency, board, commission and other entity be reviewed at least once every eight years by the legislative Joint Government Operations Committee.

Source: http://www.michie.com/tennessee/lpext.dll/tncode/17e4/2b38?f=templates&fn=document-frame.htm&2.0#JD_t4ch29


In 1977, the Texas Legislature created the Sunset Advisory Commission to identify and eliminate waste, duplication, and inefficiency in government agencies. The 12-member Commission is a legislative body that reviews the policies and programs of more than 150 government agencies every 12 years. The Commission questions the need for each agency, looks for potential duplication of other public services or programs, and considers new and innovative changes to improve each agency's operations and activities. The Commission seeks public input through hearings on every agency under Sunset review and recommends actions on each agency to the full Legislature. In most cases, agencies under Sunset review are automatically abolished unless legislation is enacted to continue them.

Source: http://www.sunset.state.tx.us/

(see Texas sunset guide for further details regarding the state's sunset review process)


Sunset provisions are added to certain entities created by legislation, especially new advisory boards or commission in the executive branch, but the commonwealth has no permanent sunset review committee or process.

Source: CSG Book of the States

West Virginia

Since 1994, the Performance Evaluation and Research Division (PERD) has operated in accordance with the WV Sunset Legislation - Chapter 4, Article 10 of the WV Code. PERD conducts performance evaluations of state agencies, boards, and commissions for the Joint Committee on Government Operations. Also, the Division conducts research on special topics as requested by the Legislature or mandated by separate legislation.

Source: http://www.legis.state.wv.us/Joint/PERD/perd.cfm

(click here for West Virginia's sunset law)