Senator Glenn Hegar Named Chair of the Sunset Advisory Commission
Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst appointed Senator Glenn Hegar as Chairman of the Sunset Advisory Commission today.
As Chairman, Senator Hegar will lead the Commission in its important task of eliminating wasteful government spending and ending inefficient practices. The ultimate goal of these efforts is an improved set of government agencies, which save taxpayers money and remain responsive to the people of Texas.
Senator Hegar previously served as Vice Chair of the Sunset Advisory Commission, an appointment that made Texas history, marking the first time that a freshman member of the Texas Legislature was appointed to a leadership position of the powerful Sunset Advisory Commission. During his tenure as Vice Chair, Senator Hegar championed reforms to modernize state agencies and sponsored legislation to reduce bureaucracy. He also supported efforts to abolish the controversial Texas Residential Construction Commission and fought tirelessly against the Trans-Texas Corridor.
"I am confident that Senator Hegar will provide strong leadership on the Sunset Advisory Commission," said Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst. "His tireless efforts and in-depth analysis of the issues will once again be an asset as the Commission undertakes the review of some of our most important state agencies."
"I am greatly honored at the Lieutenant Governor's appointment and look forward to continuing the important work I began as Vice Chair of the Commission," said Senator Hegar. "The Sunset Advisory Commission is one of the most important and powerful bodies on which a Texas Legislator can serve. The review of state agencies helps to ensure that our tax dollars are not wasted by duplicative efforts or inefficiency. As Chairman, I pledge to expand upon the progress the Commission has made so far. And, more importantly, I pledge my wholehearted dedication to the Commission's mission of serving Texans and ensuring government accountability."
The Sunset Advisory Commission conducts thorough reviews of nearly all state agencies, gathering information from the agency itself, members of the public, interest groups, and professional organizations. Each review is a three to eight month process. After conducting the review, the Sunset Advisory Commission determines whether the agency is needed; those that are found to be duplicative or no longer needed are abolished after a one year "wind-down" period. More typically, a final report is issued detailing recommended changes to the agency. The report is then used to develop legislation to implement the recommended changes in how the agency performs its mission.
During a typical legislative session, 20 to 30 state agencies are reviewed; most agencies are reviewed on a twelve year cycle. The next legislative session will be a particularly important one for the Sunset Advisory Commission, as the Texas Public Utility Commission, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas Railroad Commission, the Texas Department of Transportation, as well as, the Texas Department of Insurance and the Division of Workers' Compensation, are all set for sunset review.
The commission consists of twelve members: six (five senators and one public member) are selected by the Lieutenant Governor, and six (five representatives and one public member) are selected by the Speaker of the House. The Sunset Advisory Commission membership consists of Senators Glenn Hegar (R-Katy), Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (D-McAllen), Joan Huffman (R-Houston), Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville), and John Whitmire (D-Houston), as well as public member, Charles McMahen. The Speaker of the House is scheduled to appoint members from the House of Representatives in the near future.
The Sunset Advisory Commission is estimated to have saved the state over $736 million from 1982 to 2003.
Senator Hegar served two terms in the Texas House of Representatives and now represents Senate District 18 in the Texas Senate. Senate District 18 is made up of nineteen counties and spans over 16,000 square miles. He is a sixth generation Texan, and earns a living farming rice and corn on land that has been in his family since the mid 1800's. He currently resides in Katy, Texas with his wife Dara, and their three children, Claire, Julia, and Jonah.