NPT Capitol: Isett criticizes sunset process, calls for reform
State Rep Carl Isett, R-Lubbock, just gave a personal privilege speech in the House criticizing the Sunset process in Texas.*
Sunset bills have become, “targets of opportunity to seek the legislative goals that we have,” – but the Sunset process was supposed to about seeing if agencies were needed – or reforming them to make them more effective, he said.
Isett outlined how the Sunset process had been initiated in the 1970s because, “it was thought that the industry and the agencies had developed too cozy a relationship” – the line between ‘regulator’ and ‘regulated’ had become blurred. However, the House must now work hard in order to make them “something other than Christmas trees.”
“Sunset is about how we do it, not the body of law,” Isett said suggesting that the House change either rules or statute in order to make sure a stricter degree of germaneness is enforced in the future.
The question may be: Isett possible? or Isett time to sunset Sunset?
*The sunset process works like this: each state government agency has a limited life span and simply goes out of existence if further enabling legislation is not passed. Agencies up for “sunset” are vetted by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission. Legislative recommendations are made, some of which are rolled into the statute along with the enabling legislation. The sunset safety net bill is there to ensure that if an agency’s sunset bill dies (like the TxDoT sunset bill) there is a back-up – that simply enables the agency to go on as it did before – the agency comes up for sunset the next session or the one thereafter usually. But what happens when the back up dies? We’ll see this afternoon!