Sunset Advisory Commission Makes Changes to State Agencies
AUSTIN - The Sunset Advisory Commission continued to streamline state government by making changes to several state agencies and regulatory boards today. Following the advice of staff, the Commission eliminated oral examinations as part of the approval process for the Board of Examiners of Psychologists. This agency approves licensing for new and out-of-state psychologists for practice in Texas. Senator John Whitmire noted that the oral exams are unnecessary because, according to agency testimony, few applicants fail the oral exams and, should they fail, they are allowed to re-take the exam 30 minutes later. The Commission also allowed the agency to perform quarterly criminal background checks on licensed psychologists.
In other news at the Capitol, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst announced the 12 senators who will join two groups working on the school finance issue during the interim. Each group will be composed of six senators and six representatives. One group is called the Education Excellence group, and it will work on issues relating to improving quality of education in the state. The other group is named the School Finance Reform Group, and its members will tackle the problem of maintaining or increasing funding to public schools while reducing property taxes statewide. "I urge the members to start meeting as soon as possible in order to reach a consensus in a timely manner," said Dewhurst, "I am confident that with the Senate and House Members' legislative experience and their genuine concern for public education they will work together and reach a consensus on school finance reform." Dewhurst appointed Senators Florence Shapiro, Robert Duncan, Jane Nelson, Todd Staples, Frank Madla and Royce West to the Education Excellence Group. Senate members of the School Finance Reform Group are Senators Steve Ogden, Ken Armbrister, Kim Brimer, Tommy Williams, Gonzalo Barrientos, and Kyle Janek.