Senator Hegar Files LCRA Sunset Legislation
AUSTIN, TEXAS -- Senator Glenn Hegar (R-Katy) has filed legislation, Senate Bill 1676 , that would require the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) to go through the Sunset review process. "Over the last several years, I have heard from many district residents who have lots of questions about the LCRA and I am completely confident that this process will ultimately prove to be very positive for our citizens, legislators, and the LCRA," Senator Hegar said.
In 1977, the Texas Legislature created the Sunset Advisory Commission to identify and eliminate waste, duplication, and inefficiency in government agencies. The 12-member Commission is a legislative body that reviews the policies and programs of more than 150 government agencies every 12 years. The Commission questions the need for each agency, looks for potential duplication of other public services or programs, and considers new and innovative changes to improve each agency's operations and activities. Public input is sought through a hearing process on every agency under Sunset review. The Commission then recommends actions on each agency to the full Legislature. In most cases, agencies under Sunset review are automatically abolished unless legislation is enacted to continue them.
The Act creating the LCRA took effect in 1935 and since then, the LCRA has played a variety of roles in Central Texas: providing flood control protection, delivering electricity, managing the water supply and environment of the lower Colorado River basin, developing water and wastewater utilities, providing public recreation areas, and supporting community and economic development.
The Colorado River is the largest river entirely within the state of Texas. In a typical year, almost 600 billion gallons flow through the Colorado's 900-mile course from its source near the Texas Panhandle to its mouth near the Gulf of Mexico. The river's drainage basin spans more than 42,000 square miles - about 16 percent of the total area of Texas. "It only makes sense that the LCRA, as one of the biggest river authorities, with a board appointed by the Governor, be the first to go through this process, " said Senator Hegar. "Citizens in Senate District 18 have often shared concerns about operations and functions and this will be an opportunity to definitively answer many of the questions and concerns."
The state water plan anticipates that the Colorado River Basin, from Central Texas down to the Gulf Coast, will grow from a little more than 1 million people to nearly 2.5 million by 2050. "As the area continues to grow, it is important that the citizens of the region have confidence that the LCRA is acting in an efficient and effective manner," Senator Hegar stated. "This process can be beneficial in improving the delivery of the authority's many functions."
"There is always room for improvement in operations and activities and I believe that this is a unique opportunity for the Legislature to look closely at the LCRA and if warranted, make fundamental changes to their mission or operations," Senator Hegar concluded.