During a legislative session where creating more efficiency in government is essential, some legislators are examining ways to streamline the Sunset process so that it can live up to its purpose.

Rep. Gary Elkins of Houston has had enough. After observing how the Sunset process has more often been used to extend the life of agencies rather than successfully evaluate their usefulness and improve their efficiency, Mr. Elkins notes that he has never seen the Sunset process lead to less regulation and less government.

“We have a flawed process. We need to fix the process to make sure government doesn’t expand.”

Initially, Rep. Elkins plans on breaking down the current system by amending House rules in order to separate bills that extend agencies from the organizational recommendations adopted by the Sunset Commission. The House would first pass the bill, then move on the dealing with the recommendations one at a time as their own bills that must be approved through the committee process.

Essentially this process would make it more difficult for these bills to become laden with countless amendments and would allow a more cut-and-dry process.

But, that’s not all. Mr. Elkins would really like to do away with the Sunset Commission altogether, saying that “it doesn’t work” it “doesn’t make things more efficient.”

Because Rep. Elkins does not believe that the legislature should have to wait ten years to restructure agencies, he plans on filing legislation that would effectively sunset the Sunset Commission.

While there is definitely room to debate the implications of completely eliminating the Sunset Commission altogether, it is refreshing to note Rep. Gary Elkins tenacity while aiming to limit government and improve efficiency.

Andrew Kerr is the Executive Director of Empower Texans / Texans for Fiscal Responsibility

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