P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 12, 2014
AUSTIN – The Sunset Advisory Commission, chaired by Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today began deliberations on Sunset staff recommendations for reforms to agencies undergoing Sunset reviews, including the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC); Health and Human Services cross-agency issues; the Office of Inspector General (OIG); and the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
"Sunset staff has identified challenges that need to be addressed by the Legislature, and their recommendations for structural changes provide a good starting point. The Sunset process presents the perfect opportunity for the Legislature to modernize our agencies and ensure they are meeting the needs of today," said Senator Nelson.
The Commission is taking testimony on Sunset reports for the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities; Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities; Texas Council on Purchasing from People with Disabilities; Texas Health Services Authority; Health and Human Services Commission and system issues; Office of Inspector General; Texas Education Agency; and Self-Directed Semi-Independent Agencies. The Commission will also hear a report from the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) on their progress in implementing recommendations identified during early Sunset hearings. The hearing can be viewed online at www.senate.state.tx.us.
Among the recommendations under consideration is a Sunset staff recommendation to consolidate the state's five health and human service agencies into one. "The structure we have today is problematic because it no longer reflects the way services are truly being delivered. It is important that we re-organize these agencies in a way that will eliminate inefficiencies, strengthen oversight and truly reflect the realities of how we deliver services," Senator Nelson said.
Today the Sunset Commission is hearing testimony from Sunset staff and each of the agencies, as well as the report from DFPS. Tomorrow, public testimony for each agency will be heard. The Sunset Commission will also accept official public testimony online through Tuesday, November 18, 2014.
The next Sunset Advisory Commission meeting is scheduled for December 10, 2014 when members will vote on whether to accept, modify or reject the recommendations of Sunset staff. Those decisions will result in legislation to be filed in the next legislative session. Final decisions on the future of all these agencies ultimately rest with the Legislature. During that meeting, the Commission will also take testimony on the Sunset recommendation reports for the Texas Workforce Commission, the Texas Workforce Investment Council, the State Office of Administrative Hearings, and the Texas Facilities Commission.
Each of the reports being discussed by the Sunset Advisory Commission during this week's hearings can be viewed online at www.sunset.texas.gov.