The Texas Sunset Act was passed in 1977 to address the escalation of government budgets and the perception that government bureaucracy was not accountable. The Act applies to 130 agencies and other governmental entities. The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, along with the State Auditor’s Office, the Legislative Budget Board, and the Governor’s Office of Budget and Planning, is charged with monitoring state agency performance. The Sunset Advisory Commission consists of five state representatives, five state senators and two public members.
The Texas Railroad Commission was created more than 125 years ago to regulate the rates and operations of railroads. The Railroad Commission later assumed responsibility for regulating oil and gas production and pipelines. The agency’s name is now a misnomer, as the commission no longer oversees railroad operations in the State.
The first three railroad commissioners were appointed by Gov. Hogg in 1891: John H. Reagan, Judge W.P. McLean and L.L. Foster. In 1984, the Texas Constitution was amended to provide for elective six-year overlapping terms for railroad commissioners who are elected statewide.
The Railroad Commission, in its third Sunset review since 2010, submitted a self-evaluation report in September 2015. In April 2016, the Sunset Commission staff released a full report on the sunset of the agency. A public hearing is set for Aug. 22, 2016, to take testimony on the staff report and the agency overall. Continue Reading