The San Jacinto River Authority announced July 12 that comments are open for the public input process of its Sunset review. The Sunset review is a process conducted by the statewide Sunset Advisory Commission to evaluate the performance of state agencies, according to the commission website.
The SJRA provides surface water and works to conserve and develop water resources for the counties within the San Jacinto River Basin, excluding Harris County, according to its website. Gov. Greg Abbott named Stephanie Johnson as the SJRA's newest director to the board on July 7.
Sunset reviews are conducted by a 12-member commission consisting of five members of the Senate, one public member appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, five members of the House and one public member appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Since the Sunset commission’s creation in 1977, 79 agencies have been abolished, including 37 agencies that were completely abolished and 42 that were abolished with certain functions transferred to existing or newly created agencies, according to the commission site. The SJRA’s Sunset process was initially meant to conclude in 2021, but a Senate bill filed by Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway, and signed into law in June 2021 extended the review process to September 2023.
Sunset staff filed a Sept. 2021 report following the initial evaluation of the SJRA. Local authorities expressed disappointment at the commission not discussing policies, such as the SJRA's lake lowering plans, although SJRA officials responded by noting Sunset reviews do not address policy issues, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.
According to the SJRA’s announcement, comments on the SJRA’s mission, services and operations are due by Sept. 1. Commenters can submit through the following methods:
- Send an email to [email protected];
- Submit comments online at www.sunset.texas.gov;
- Send a letter to the Sunset Advisory Commission, Attn: SJRA, P.O. Box 13066, Austin, Texas 78711; or
- Call 512-463-1300 to speak to Robert Romig, project manager of the SJRA review.
Romig is also managing Sunset reviews for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality as well as the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District, the Lavaca-Navidad River Authority, and the Upper Guadalupe River Authority, according to the Sunset site.
Following the receipt of public comments, the Sunset commission will host two public meetings on Dec. 6-7, and a staff report will be published in November, per the SJRA announcement. The Texas Legislature will reconvene in 2023 to consider and potentially act on the Sunset staff’s recommendation. SJRA's Sunset profile, including all previous reports, can be found here.