TCDD, Health and Human Service Agencies Begin Sunset Review
Under state law, the Sunset Advisory Commission regularly reviews about 150 state agencies to determine if each one is still needed and effective, eliminate any duplication of services and programs, and identify ways to make improvements. This biennium, 21 agencies are being reviewed, including the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities, the state’s health and human services agencies and the Texas Workforce Commission.
State agencies are usually reviewed once every 12 years, but TCDD and the health and human service agencies were last reviewed 16 years ago, in 1998-1999, because the Legislature postponed their review twice. The review process began this summer and continues through the 84th Texas Legislative Session in 2015.
Some of the agencies under Sunset review now are:
- Health and Human Services Commission
- Department of Aging and Disability Services
- Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services
- Department of State Health Services
- Department of Family and Protective Services
- Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities
- Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities
- Texas Council on Purchasing from People with Disabilities
- Texas Workforce Commission
Sunset Review Process
The Sunset review process starts with an evaluation stage in which state agencies and Sunset staff prepare reports regarding each agency. Then the Sunset Advisory Commission holds a public hearing on each agency and makes its recommendations. The Texas Legislature must reauthorize each agency for it to continue to exist. More details on the review process and ways you can provide input follow.
- In the evaluation stage, each agency prepares a self assessment to identify its strengths and weaknesses, issues and concerns. These self evaluations must be submitted to the Sunset Advisory Commission by Sept. 1, 2013, and they will be available for public review once done. The Sunset staff will also study each agency, solicit input from interest groups and professional organizations, and encourage public input regarding each agency and its programs. Then the Sunset staff will prepare a report on each agency, as well as recommendations that cut across agencies.
- Next, the Sunset Advisory Commission, which is composed of five state senators, five representatives and two public members, will hold a public hearing on each agency. This provides an opportunity for Sunset staff to discuss recommendations, for the agency to formally respond to staff recommendations, and for the public to comment on the report, as well as agency operations and policies.
- Based on public input and the staff report, the Sunset Advisory Commission will adopt recommendations for the Texas Legislature to consider when it convenes in January 2015. If the commission recommends continuation of an agency, the commission will draft legislation to do this and to correct any problems identified during the review process.
- Finally, the Legislature must pass a bill to reauthorize each agency or it will be automatically abolished. If an agency is abolished, the Sunset Act provides a one-year period to wind down and conclude agency operations.
Public input on an agency’s performance and suggestions for improvement are critical throughout the Sunset review process. You can provide input to Sunset staff online or by mail, review Sunset documents (including reports on each agency and decision materials), speak at the public hearings and participate in the legislative session. More details on how to participate in the Sunset process and accommodations for people with disabilities are on the Sunset Advisory Commission’s website.
For More Information
Texas Sunset Advisory Commission How to Participate web page (new browser window will open)
Texas Sunset Advisory Commission Agencies Reviews and Reports Overview Agencies Currently Under Review web page (new browser window will open)
Texas Sunset Advisory Commission web site (new browser window will open)