Since its creation in 1977, the Sunset process has evolved into a robust, structured process with specific review criteria, across-the-board recommendations, and evaluation standards based on best practices in government. These Sunset review components are briefly described below.
Sunset review criteria. The Legislature has established general criteria in the Texas Sunset Act (Sections 325.011 and 325.0115, Government Code) for the Sunset Commission and staff to consider when reviewing all agencies, as well as specific criteria for reviews of occupational licensing agencies. Based on these statutory criteria, Sunset has developed a list of questions to ask during a Sunset review to evaluate an agency’s efficiency, effectiveness, fairness, and accountability.
Sunset across-the-board recommendations. The Sunset Commission has adopted across-the-board (ATB) recommendations based on the Legislature’s Sunset review criteria. These ATBs apply consistent standards for open, responsive, and effective government across all state agencies under Sunset review. Examples include ensuring public representation on governing boards, prohibiting conflicts of interest, and providing opportunities for public comments at agency board meetings.
Evaluation standards. Sunset has developed evaluation standards to help guide reviews. These standards are based on Sunset’s four decades of experience in evaluating state government, as well as other published best practices.
The Sunset Licensing and Regulation Model is a nationally recognized set of standards for reviewing licensing agencies and programs. This model examines every aspect of a licensing agency or regulatory program, from the need for the agency to how licensing and enforcement should work. Common benefits of applying the licensing model standards include agency efficiency, administrative flexibility, fairer processes for the licensee, and additional protections for consumers. Before recommending changes to an agency’s statute based on these standards, the Sunset Commission considers the agency’s specific circumstances, ability to protect the public, and services to licensees.