Roughly 20 to 30 Texas State agencies go through the Sunset process each legislative process. What does this mean and how does the Sunset process work?
In 1977 the Texas Legislature "created the Sunset process to question the need for and success of agencies carrying out the responsibilities of state government." The Sunset process reviews state agencies and programs to determine if their functions are still relevant, if they are successfully carrying out their mission, and in what ways they could operate more efficiently.
How Sunset Works in Texas
The Sunset Advisory Commission defines Sunset as "the regular assessment of the continuing need for a state agency or program to exist." Certain professional licensing boards are periodically subject to the Sunset process. A board subject to Sunset will be abolished if it is found to be ineffective, inefficient, or unnecessary. The "sunset" is an automatic termination date of a State agency unless the Legislature passes a bill to allow the agency under review to continue.
The statute that creates a licensing board will specify a date the agency will be abolished unless it is continued by legislation. About 140 Texas agencies are subject to the Sunset process. Generally, these agencies undergo Sunset review every 12 years. There are agencies that are either not subject to abolishment or are considered under special-purpose reviews under direction of the Legislature.
The Sunset Advisory Commission
The Sunset Advisory Commission is the oversight body tasked with executing the Sunset review process. The Sunset Commission is comprised of 12 people, including five members of the Texas Senate, five members of the Texas House of Representatives, one public member appointed by the Speaker of the House, and one public member appointed by the Lieutenant Governor. Further, the Commission appoints a director who employs staff to carry out the Commission’s responsibilities.
Last year the licensing and regulation of a number of programs were transferred away from their respective agencies and to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). The programs transferred to the TDLR included Podiatric Medicine, Code Enforcement Officers, Mold Assessors and Remediators, and Massage Therapy. The TDLR manages 40 programs and issues licenses to a number of Texas professionals.
Currently, the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying is at risk of being abolished. The Sunset Advisory Commission reported that the agency is not effectively regulating land surveyors and concluded that the Texas Board of Professional Engineers could more effectively regulate this profession.
When your professional licensing board/agency is up for Sunset review, we encourage you to stay abreast of the proceedings and public hearings so you are empowered to participate if you are so inclined.
Professional License Defense Attorneys
If you are experiencing licensure issues, are under investigation, or have been notified of a complaint filed against you with a professional licensing board in Texas, BERTOLINO LLP can help. We are experienced professional license defense attorneys.
We are prepared to zealously advocate for you, your license, and your career.
BERTOLINO LLP helps professionals, like you, keep their licenses when those licenses are under attack by a state agency or board. We represent licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. Contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.