What is Sunset Review?
The Texas Legislature established the Sunset Advisory Commission in 1977. Sunset exists to provide regular reviews of state agency operations and spending — and to automatically end those operations, unless the Legislature specifically reauthorizes the agency.
Under the Texas Sunset Act, an agency under review (such as the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy) can be abolished or have some of its functions transferred to another agency.
Texas’ Sunset Advisory Commission is an agency governed by legislative appointees. The lieutenant governor appoints five senators and one public member to serve as commissioners; the speaker of the House appoints five representatives and another public member. A staff of about 30, including a director, policy analysts and administrative staff, report to the commission.
Although Sunset may appear to be an “insider” process, “Outside input is critical — it’s how Sunset staff gets the broad perspective it needs to understand the issues surrounding the agencies under review, and how the Sunset Commission gets feedback on the recommendations offered in the Sunset staff report,” says Jennifer Jones, deputy director of the agency.
“More often than not, the feedback received from stakeholders helps focus the commission’s attention on key problem areas and develop workable solutions, including changes to law and management directives,” she says.
Every state entity other than universities, courts and agencies established by the state constitution is subject to periodic review by the Sunset Commission — about 130 in all. Agencies generally undergo a Sunset review about once every 12 years. Read more.