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How to Participate

Public participation is invaluable to the Sunset process and is welcomed at every stage to ensure everyone can have a say on agencies undergoing Sunset review. Individuals, organizations, and businesses directly or indirectly affected by an agency’s operations and services have first-hand knowledge and experiences about the agency that can help Sunset identify problems and opportunities for improvement. 

Here’s how the public can get involved at every stage of a Sunset review. The table Sunset Review Timeline for the 87th Legislature provides general timeframes for each review stage.

Sunset Review Timeline for the 87th Texas Legislature

September 2019

Agencies under review submit self-evaluation reports to the Sunset Commission. Sunset posts these reports on its website.

September 2019 to January 2021

Sunset staff evaluates each agency and publishes a staff report with recommendations to the Sunset Commission. Public input provided to staff before the report is published is confidential. Sunset posts the staff reports on its website.

The Sunset Commission holds a public hearing and a decision meeting on each staff report and agency. Sunset posts written public comments and testimony and updated staff reports with commission decisions on its website.

February 2021

The Sunset Commission submits a summary report to the Texas Legislature with its recommendations for changes to every agency under review. Sunset posts this report on its website.

January to June 2021

The Legislature considers Sunset bills for agencies under review. Each agency’s bill contains the Sunset Commission’s statutory recommendations for that agency. After session, Sunset publishes a report with the final outcomes for every agency under review and posts the report on its website.

Provide comments to Sunset staff.

Sunset staff actively seeks input when reviewing an agency. Interested persons and organizations may confidentially share their concerns and ideas about the agency with Sunset staff before the staff report is published. The Sunset website provides the project manager’s contact information and has a confidential public comment form that goes directly to Sunset staff.

Read the Sunset reports.

Every agency prepares a self-evaluation report to the Sunset Commission that describes the agency’s mission, functions, and programs and identifies issues and opportunities for change. Sunset publishes these reports on its website. Sunset concludes the staff review of an agency by publishing a staff report with recommendations to the Sunset Commission. Sunset updates this report twice during the review process, first by adding the Sunset Commission’s decisions on recommendations from staff and the public, and again by adding the Legislature’s final decisions on the agency’s Sunset bill.

Comment on staff reports and testify at public hearings.

After Sunset publishes the staff report on an agency, the Sunset Commission holds a public hearing on the report and the agency. Anyone can submit written comments before and at the hearing, and may also testify on the Sunset staff’s recommendations and raise other agency-related issues not addressed in the staff report. Written comments submitted after the staff report is published are not confidential and are shared with Sunset Commission members and posted on Sunset’s website.

Participate in the legislative session.

The Legislature must pass a bill to continue an agency that is subject to abolishment under Sunset and to adopt other statutory Sunset recommendations. The public can participate in the legislative process as they would with any bill, including contacting elected officials and testifying at legislative committee hearings. For more information about the legislative process, visit www.capitol.texas.gov

Please note the Sunset Commission does not get involved or intervene in individual complaints, grievances, or administrative or legal cases. Sunset is not an ombudsman’s office or an avenue for appeals and cannot influence or override an agency’s decisions. While the public may comment on an agency’s rules, processes, and regulatory activities, the Sunset Commission and staff may not accept confidential documents, written comments, or public testimony containing details about individual cases or appeals.

Accommodations for People With Disabilities at Sunset Commission Meetings

For the Sunset process to reach its full potential, everyone must be able to fully and equally participate in every phase of a Sunset review. Individuals with a disability or other special need have the right under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to reasonable accommodations to facilitate participation in the Sunset process. To request an ADA accommodation, contact the Sunset ADA coordinator at sunset@sunset.texas.gov or (512) 463-1300. To use a TTY, VCO, or HCO assistive device, contact Relay Texas at 7-1-1 and ask to be connected to (512) 463-1300. Read more about Accommodations for People with Disabilities at Sunset Meetings.