On November 22, House Speaker Dade Phelan unveiled his appointments to the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission following Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s announcement of his appointments on September 21. The appointment of State Rep. Keith Bell (R-Forney) is of note. As a veteran member of the House Public Education Committee, Rep. Bell plays a crucial role in legislation impacting Texas AFT members. Bell was appointed to complete the term of Rep. John Cyrier, the former chair of the Sunset Advisory Commission. Cyrier stepped down from his role on the commission after announcing that he is not running for re-election.
The latest membership of the Sunset Advisory Commission is as follows:
|Senate Members||House Members|
|Senator Charles Schwertner (Chair)*||Rep. Justin Holland (Vice Chair)*|
|Senator Brian Birdwell*||Rep. Keith Bell*|
|Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.||Rep. Terry Canales|
|Senator Angela Paxton||Rep. Travis Clardy*|
|Senator Drew Springer, Jr.*||Rep. Craig Goldman|
|James “Jim” Lee (Public Member)*||Jeff Austin III (Public Member)*|
The Sunset Advisory Commission is a 12-member body made up of members appointed by the lieutenant governor and speaker of the House and one public member also appointed by the speaker. The Sunset Advisory Commission is consequential because the commission issues statutory recommendations to the Texas Legislature on how to improve state agencies like the Texas Education Agency, and a significant majority (80%) of those recommendations have become state law since 2001.
The Sunset Commission currently has 131 agencies scheduled for review during the next 12 years. The Legislature sets the Sunset review schedule in law, but the agencies and their Sunset dates are subject to change every legislative session.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) last underwent Sunset review in the 2014-2015 review cycle (84th Legislative Session) and was “continued” through 2025 (after this date, the agency will be dissolved if it is not reauthorized by the Texas Legislature). The commission’s recommendations and the legislative action taken in the 84th Legislative Session and past Sunset review cycles can be found on the commission website. The agency is next scheduled to undergo Sunset review in the 2026 – 2027 Review Cycle (90th Legislative Session).
The Teachers Retirement System (TRS) underwent Sunset review in the latest 2020-2021 review cycle (87th Legislative Session). The commission’s recommendations and the legislative action taken in the 87th Legislative Session can be found on the commission website. The major Sunset legislation acting upon the commission’s statutory recommendations for TRS in the 87th Legislative Session was HB 1585. A summary of the legislation can be found on Texas Legislature Online. TRS is next scheduled to undergo Sunset review in the 2032 – 2033 Review Cycle (93rd Legislative Session).
Texas AFT will continue to engage with the members of the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission in the interim and in the 88th Texas Legislature to advance our members’ priorities.