Temporary versus Permanent Legislation
Chapter 2: Short-to medium-term residual effects
Legislatures can pass legislation temporarily by including a duration or “sunset” clause that automatically invalidates a statute on a specified date. These clauses allow the legislature to authorize a statute for a limited time and govern temporarily. In contrast to “normal” permanent legislation, temporary legislation does not require additional legislative action for its rescission. It loses any legally binding effect when it reaches its predetermined date of expiration and can only be extended if the legislature passes a new bill that specifies an additional period of legal validity. Recent literature on legislative timing rules treats the effect of temporary legislation as dependent upon the continued existence of a legally binding rule (Parisi et al. 2004, Gersen 2007, Gersen and Posner 2007, Luppi and Parisi 2009, Yin 2009). The discussion assumes that when legislation expires, any compliance effect associated with that legislation also expires. No explicit consideration is given to the possibility that legislation can produce effects independent of statutory enforcement. For example, temporary law can be expressive, and change the level of social sanctioning around the substance of a law (Cooter 1998, McAdams and Rasmusen 2005, Funk 2007, Feldman 2009). Temporary industry regulations can lead to the permanent destruction of an industry or the emergence of substitute products (Nye 2007).
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