Thursday, January 10, 2008

TxDOT Critics Named to Sunset Review Commission-

By Martha Estes - Jan. 9, 2007
FYI: about the Commission
The Commission includes twelve members. The lieutenant governor and the speaker each appoint one public member and five members from their respective chambers. They also appoint alternating chairs and vice chairs for two-year terms. Legislative members serve four-year terms and public members serve two-year terms.

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 an opportunity for the Sunset Commission and the Legislature to study each agency closely and make fundamental changes to its mission or operations if necessary. This includes holding public hearings and issuing a final report of findings with recommendations as to whether the reviewed state agency's mandate will be renewed or expired.

Agencies are typically reviewed every twelve years and up to 30 agencies can go through the Sunset process each legislative session. Some of the agencies up for review this term are the Texas Department of Agriculture, the Texas Department of Insurance, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Office of State-Federal Relations, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Youth Commission.

Also FYI: about the Members
On October 9, 2007 Speaker Tom Craddick (Midland) announced the appointments of #1 Rep. Linda Harper-Brown (Irving) and #2 Rep. Carl Isett (Lubbock) and the reappointment of #3 Ike Sugg of San Angelo, a public member of the Commission. Isett will serve as chair of the Commission.
#4 Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (Brenham), #5 Rep. Ruth McClendon Jones (San Antonio), and #6 Rep. Dan Flynn (Van) are members serving the last two years of their four-year terms (2009). Before Rep. Kolkhorst's prominent role in the opposition to the TTC footprint in the 2007 Legislative Session she was the expected Chair for the Sunset Commission.

Note: We need to keep in mind that Sen. Hegar carried the battle in the Senate for the Eminent Domain/Private Property Rights bill # 2006 to protect property owners in Condemnation. It had great support in both chambers and was vetoed by Perry.

Read more at Working for Accountable Government

TxDOT critics appointed to key state commission
By Will Lutz - The Dallas Blog - Tue, Jan 8, 2008

Rep. Linda Harper-Brown (Irving) and Rep. Carl Isett (Lubbock)Rep. Linda Harper-Brown (Irving) and Rep. Carl Isett (Lubbock by Will Lutz
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst today announced his appointments to the Sunset Advisory Commission, and his appointments could spell trouble for the current brass at the Texas Department of Transportation.

Dewhurst appointed the following people: #1 Sen. Glenn Hegar (R-Katy), #2 Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (D-McAllen), and #3 Michael Stevens as a public appointee. Dewhurst designated Hegar as the vice chairman of the commission -- the lead Senator on the Sunset Advisory Commission. The appointments are important because the Sunset Advisory Commission is scheduled to review the often controversial Texas Department of Transportation in 2009.

Hegar made stopping the corridor one of the key themes of his successful Senate race in 2006.

Stevens is known for his work on the Governor's Business Council and for chairing the council's Transportation Task Force. The Task Force released a report critical of Department of Transportation's estimated costs of building roads in metropolitan areas.

The Sunset Advisory Commission was originally created to determine if state agencies needed abolition or consolidation. But its mandate has since been expanded to examine how to improve the structure of state agencies. The commission's recommendations become drafted in bill form and then those bills are considered by the Legislature in the next legislative session.

Hegar, Stevens, and Hinojosa join #4 Sens. Bob Deuell (R-Greenville), #5 Kim Brimer (R-Arlington), and #6 Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) who are serving the last two years of their four-year terms. Hegar and Hinojosa were appointed to four-year terms, and Stevens was appointed to a two-year term. They join six appointees of the House speaker on the commission."I truly appreciate the willingness of all three of these individuals to serve on this important commission," Dewhurst said. "I know each of them will provide knowledgeable and thought-provoking contributions as the Sunset Advisory Commission undertakes the review of some of our most important state agencies."
Read more in the Dallas Blog

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