The Sunset Commission voted unanimously Wednesday not to accept a staff recommendation to close inefficient driver license offices across the state following backlash from lawmakers who feared counties in their districts could be at risk of losing their only office.
In advance of the Aug. 29 commission meeting, the Texas Department of Public Safety identified 87 driver license offices for possible closure based on an April 2018 Sunset Advisory Commission staff report recommending it “develop and implement a plan to close inefficient driver license offices.”
DPS had identified the Palmview office in western Hidalgo County as one such office, which would have left South Texas’ largest county with three remaining offices in McAllen, Edinburg and Weslaco.
Ninety percent of the offices, however, were the only ones in their mostly rural counties, such as those in Falfurrias, Hebbronville and George West, which serve all of Brooks, Jim Hogg and Live Oak Counties, respectively.
As a result of the commission’s decision to reject the staff recommendation, it will not be part of the DPS sunset legislation lawmakers will consider when the Texas Legislature convenes in January.