Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Just a random observation...

...from reading this story in the Chron...

It was political sparring in the House that first killed legislation to reauthorize the Department of Transportation; the Department of Insurance; the Office of Public Insurance Counsel, which represents the public in rate cases; the Texas Racing Commission; and the State Affordable Housing Corp., a quasi state agency that links low-income people with lenders for home purchases.
The agencies later were included in a measure by the House to give them an extended life until a future Legislature could review them, but the Senate adjourned without passing it.
Perry’s staff is working with legislative staff and the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission to see if there is a way to keep the agencies alive without calling a special session, the governor said.
“This is not a big hurdle for the Texas Legislature to deal with,” Perry said. “… If we have to come back and address this, this is what we will do.”
Perry said he does not have the power to extend the agencies through executive order.
The Legislature in 1977 created the sunset review process to make every state agency justify its existence every 12 years. If an agency is not reauthorized, it goes out of existence. There have been 47 agencies abolished and 11 consolidated through the process.

You know what would be great, and quite an interesting thing to watch? If we had a National Sunset Advisory Commission and every federal agency had to justify its existence every so often — and its budget — using nothing but the United States Constitution and showing how its actions are in line with that document, and if one step over the line caused the agency to be abolished. Somehow I think the ATF and the DEA would have been gone long ago, along with a host of other agencies. We'll never get it, I'm sure, but a small-government libertarian can dream...