Operation: Shut down?

So there are some rumors going around that Texas is basically shutting down and we’re all being asked to choose between Oklahoma and Mexico by the weekend (talk about being stuck between a rock and a swineflu).  Turns out this is largely untrue, but five state agencies do risk shutting down by September 1, 2010 if nothing is done.

The agencies are:  The Texas Department of Insurance, the Office of Public Insurance Counsel, the Department of Transportation, the Racing Commission and the Texas State Affordable Housing Corp.

According to the Dallas Morning News story about the potential shut down, these agencies were up for what is known as “sunset review.”  In this scenario, these agencies are up for review every 12 years, after which state lawmakers must pass bills that keep the agencies running.  This legislative session failed to do so for the above-mentioned agencies.

While September 2010 seems like a faraway deadline, the true deadline is actually September 2009–about three months from now–when these agencies are required by law to start preparations for “shut down.”  Governor Perry, unable to require these agencies to continue operation through executive order, must call a special session that would allow legislators to pass the necessary bills.  House Speaker Joe Straus said other options may be available.

Regardless of the other options, Perry assured Texans that these agencies will continue operating as they normally would:

“I want to ensure our citizens and the employees of those agencies that Texas will continue to build and maintain our roads, regulate the insurance industry and provide essential services while we work with those agency leaders in the coming days to chose the best of many options that are out in front of us,” Perry said.

Perry has not, as yet, called for a special session.


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