The Kansas sunrise reports in our dataset are lacking in independent research and meaningful analysis despite a two-step review process that might be expected to produce rigorous reports. They are also very few, possibly due to a records retention policy that allows the agency to destroy records after five years. We identified only three reports from the state, all from between 2011 and 2015.
Kansas enacted its sunrise law, which covers only health-related occupations, in 1980. Sunrise review is initiated when health care practitioners— that is, industry insiders—wishing to have their occupation regulated notify the secretary of the Department of Health and Environment of their intent to file an application. If the secretary approves, regulation proponents can then file their application. (If denied, they can appeal.) Applications must be accompanied by a $1,000 fee and a statement of support signed by at least 100 individuals.
Kansas’ sunrise law charges applicants with demonstrating a need for new regulation. Specifically, they must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the occupation should be regulated. This means proving that “[t]he unregulated practice of the occupation or profession can harm or endanger the health, safety or welfare of the public and the potential for such harm is recognizable and not remote.” This is a moderate standard of harm.
Under the law, the secretary of health and environment must refer applications to a seven-member technical committee composed of three health care workers already credentialed by the state and four consumers. The committee is tasked with conducting an objective review of the proposal. To that end, no member of the committee can have a direct interest in the credentialing or noncredentialing of the occupation.
The technical committee must review the application, conducting fact-finding hearings and soliciting information from interested parties, including both proponents and opponents of the proposed regulation. Kansas’ sunrise law sets out the review criteria, which include a cost-benefit evaluation that looks at the effect of regulation on the number of practitioners and the cost of health care, the level of knowledge and proficiency required to work in the occupation, and whether the public needs and would benefit from assurances of initial and continuing practitioner competency.
The technical committee must also consider any previous or ongoing regulatory measures aimed at protecting the public and evaluate whether additional regulation is needed. If the committee concludes that regulation is needed, Kansas’ sunrise law requires it to recommend the least restrictive regulation that would protect the public. To this end, the law provides a list of less restrictive alternatives to licensure.
The law sets no time limit for the technical committee’s review. Once the review is complete, the committee produces for the secretary of health and environment a written report with a recommendation. Within 120 days of receiving the committee’s report, the secretary produces his or her own report, summarizing the technical committee’s findings but free to reach a different conclusion. Both reports are transmitted together to the Legislature, which is not required to follow their recommendations or, indeed, to enact least restrictive regulations. This study considers the secretary’s reports. 2
Despite the state’s seemingly robust sunrise review process, the secretary’s few reports miss the mark, largely because the technical committee’s reviews on which they are based rely mostly on information supplied by applicants rather than independent fact-finding.
Licensure Was Frequently Sought but Infrequently Recommended or Enacted
Summary of Kansas’s Sunrise Reviews, 2011–2015
Notes: A distinct license is a separate license for an occupation already licensed under another, usually broader, occupational category. A recommendation of no new regulation means just that; a Notes: A distinct license is a separate license for an occupation already licensed under another, usually broader, occupational category. A recommendation of no new regulation means just that; a recommendation to maintain or amend license refers to a recommendation to reject new regulations (such as a distinct license) in favor of keeping an existing license, with or without amendments. A legislative outcome of no new regulation means no new regulation of personal qualifications; the legislature may have enacted other regulations. An outcome of broader credential means the legislature opted to sweep the occupation into a broader licensure, certification or registration scheme. Where a state reviewed an occupation more than once, we are counting only the legislative outcome as of 2018.
Occupations Licensed Without Supporting Recommendations
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