Origin and Historical Context of Sunset Provisions
– Sunset provisions originated in Roman law of the mandate and were later codified in the Codex Iustinianus.
– The principle of sunset provisions appeared in several areas of legislation.
– Sunset provisions were a frequent legislative tool used by colonial and early state legislatures in the United States.
– However, their popularity decreased as the legislatures institutionalized.
Sunset Provisions in the United States
– In American federal law, legislation that renews an expired mandate is a reauthorization act or an extension act.
– Examples of high-profile sunset provisions in American law include the U.S. Constitution, Sedition Act of 1798, USA PATRIOT Act, and Assault Weapons Ban.
– The USA PATRIOT Act had several surveillance provisions that expired and were later renewed.
– The Texas Sunset provision was established in 1977, requiring specific legislation to continue agency functions.
Sunset Provisions in Other Countries
– The United Kingdom proposed a sunset clause for the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, but it was eventually omitted.
– Canada has an implied sunset clause of five years for legislation enacted under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
– Australia’s new Anti-Terrorism laws have a sunset clause of ten years.
– Germany applies sunset provisions on different federal levels, including a general six-month provision for emergency legislation.
Sunset Provisions in South Korea and Taiwan
– South Korea’s Corporate Restructuring Promotion Act includes a sunset provision to facilitate out-of-court workout of insolvent companies.
– The Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China apply to the Free area of Taiwan and have a sunset provision.
Sunset Provisions in New Zealand
– The Electoral Integrity Act in New Zealand had a sunset clause aimed at discouraging waka-jumping.
– New Zealand’s Legislative Instruments Act 2003 mandates the automatic expiry of most legislative instruments, ensuring periodic review and evaluation.
In public policy, a sunset provision or sunset clause is a measure within a statute, regulation or other law that provides for the law to cease to be effective after a specified date, unless further legislative action is taken to extend it. Unlike most laws that remain in force indefinitely unless they are amended or repealed, sunset provisions have a specified expiration date. This is not applicable in legal systems where the concept of desuetude applies.
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