In the 2010-2011 biennium, 28 state agencies were subject to review by the Sunset Advisory Commission. The Commission recently published its recommendations in its Report to the 82nd Legislature (February 2011).
In this post, we answer commonly asked questions about the Sunset Advisory Commission and the sunset review process.
What is sunset review?
From the Commission's Guide to the Sunset Process - "Sunset is the regular assessment of the continuing need for a state agency to exist. While standard legislative oversight is concerned with agency compliance with legislative policies, Sunset asks a more basic question: Do the agency's functions continue to be needed? The Sunset process works by setting a date on which an agency will be abolished unless legislation is passed to continue its functions. This creates a unique opportunity for the Legislature to look closely at each agency and make fundamental changes to an agency's mission or operations if needed.
The Sunset process is guided by a 12-member body appointed by the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Assisting the Commission is a staff whose reports provide an assessment of an agency's programs, giving the Legislature the information needed to draw conclusions about program necessity and workability."
Who are the current members of the Sunset Advisory Commission?
The Commission is made up of five House members, five Senate members, and two members of the public. The Senate members are: Sen. Glenn Hegar, Jr. (chair), Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, Sen. Joan Huffman, Sen. Robert Nichols, and Sen. John Whitmire. The House members are: Rep. Dennis Bonnen (vice chair), Rep. Rafael Anchia, Rep Byron Cook, Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, and Rep. Larry Taylor. The two public members are Charles McMahen and Lamont Jefferson.
What agencies were reviewed for this session?
A total of 28 state agencies were under sunset review in the 2010-2011 biennium. To see a list of these agencies, see page 3 of the Sunset Advisory Commission's Report to the 82nd Legislature. Agency self-evaluations, Sunset staff reports, and other documents related to the review process can be found on the Commission's website.
How do I find sunset bills?
During the legislative session, the Sunset Commission files legislation to enact improvements identified during the sunset review process. A list of Sunset Commission bills introduced during the 82nd Regular Session is available online.
What agencies will be up for review in 2013?
37 state agencies are scheduled for sunset review in the 2012-2013 biennium. Appendix A of the Sunset Advisory Commission's Report to the 82nd Legislature contains a list of these agencies.
Which state agencies are subject to the Sunset Act and where can I find the dates of their last and next review?
The Sunset Commission's Guide to the Sunset Process provides a list of state agencies subject to the Sunset Act and the dates of their next and last review (see pg. 75.)