UPDATE: The House has postponed consideration of HB 710 until Monday.
Another bill designed to rein in the Texas State Board of Education is moving in the Legislature. State Rep. Patrick Rose’s House Bill 710, which would put the state board under periodic “Sunset review,” is headed to the House floor. The bill, which easily passed the House Public Education Committee on March 26, is on the General State Calendar for Saturday.
Sunset review essentially forces a state agency to justify its existence. From the Sunset Advisory Commission’s Web site:
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. The Commission seeks public input through hearings on every agency under Sunset review and 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 Sunset review process would give the Legislature the opportunity to decide, after the commission’s recommendation, whether to make any changes to the state board’s authority. If during this session lawmakers don’t strip the board of its authority over curriculum and textbooks, for example, they could do so when the board comes up for Sunset review.