I just want to raise a question, based on Carl Isett’s decision, announced yesterday, that he would handle the TxDOT and Texas Department of Insurance Sunset bills on the floor: Should the Sunset bills be carried by the appointees to the Sunset Commission, or by the committee chairs of the substantive committees that deal with the subject? The argument for letting the Sunset members carry the bills is that the Sunset process is mainly about identifying ways to make government work better and more efficiently. In real life, however, everybody knows that the action on Sunset bills is not the good-government provisions but the amendments. On the Racing Commission Sunset bill, for example, nobody cares about the efficiency stuff. All that matters is the gambling amendments. Insurance and transportation are two huge areas of state government. The perception is that the agencies in charge of them have not done a good job. When the amendments start piling up on the speaker’s desk, shouldn’t those bills be handled by the committee chairs: Carona in the Senate, Pickett in the House (on TxDOT). This is not personal about the Sunset members, Isett and Hegar, both of whom are capable lawmakers. Similarly, on insurance, shouldn’t Smithee carry the Sunset bill? He would understand the force and effect of the amendments better than Isett would. I suppose you could argue the opposite side: that the substantive committee chairs are too close to the agencies and their supporters and may be part of the problem. I still want the most knowledgeable people, who understand the effect of the amendments, having their names on these bills.
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