Posted on April 25, 2011 in Corrections
For a number of years, state prison populations have been growing at alarming rates and, correspondingly, so have state corrections budgets. A recent report by the Pew Center on the States estimates that state corrections spending has quadrupled nationwide over the past 20 years, making it the second fastest growing budget item for states, behind Medicaid. In addition, the report noted that approximately 40 percent of released inmates return to prison within three years of release. According to the 2010 Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) Adult Correctional Systems Comparative Data Report, between 2000 and 2010, the number of inmates in the region, including those based in county and local jails, increased from 537,135 to 632,651, a 17.8 percent increase. During that time, some SLC states, such as West Virginia, saw as high as 67 percent increases. In addition, according to an assessment done by the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, the entire West Virginia prison population is expected to increase by another 45 percent by 2020, making it the fastest growing prison population in the country. The state has made some progress in addressing violent offenses, such as driving under the influence (DUI), through legislation in 2008 (SB535) to reduce driver's license suspension times from 30 to 15 days for first time DUI offenders, but requiring those drivers to install an ignition interlock, a device that prevents the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected when the driver breathes into it. The legislation also removed the mandatory 24-hour lockup law for offenders with lower blood alcohol contents (BAC) and created harsher penalties for drivers with extremely high BAC. This, along with other measures, has almost cut the percentage of inmates sentenced for DUI convictions by one-half in a few years. However, the overall percentage of inmates in the state convicted for nonviolent crimes, including parole violators and illegal drug users, continues to rise.
Other states have undertaken more dramatic reforms in an effort to reduce inmate populations and corrections costs. The Council of State Governments' Justice Center has been working with states throughout the nation, including Oklahoma, North Carolina and Texas, to implement Justice Reinvestment strategies aimed mainly at lowering recidivism rates. Texas, for instance, experienced an 18 percent increase in probation revocation from 1997 to 2006, even though the total number of persons under supervision was declining. Rather than spending huge amounts of state funds to begin building new prisons, the Texas Legislature enacted criminal justice legislation in 2007 to expand treatment and diversion programs, such as increasing the number of beds in residential substance abuse program, and to enhance probation and parole policies, such as establishing caseload limits for probation and parole officers. The approximate $241 million investment is projected to eliminate the prison bed shortfall in the state by 2012. Since the reinvestment cost was significantly less than the Texas Department of Criminal Justice original budget request for additional prison capacity, the state saved about $210 million the first biennium alone.
Further revamps are being considered by the state this year as well. Included in the bills filed for the 2011 biennium is legislation (HB3386) that would promote the use of "shock probation," or limited prison time for low-level probation violators. Rather than sending violators to prison for the remainder of their sentence, which can be years, oftentimes for a minor violation, probationers are imprisoned for only a limited amount of time, with the goal of dissuading them from further violations. The legislation also would allow consideration for early release of some critically ill inmates, which would dramatically reduce healthcare costs to the Department of Corrections. The legislation could save the state nearly $13.5 million in just two years.
The Alabama Legislature currently is considering a host of sentencing and corrections reform bills aimed at reducing the size of the state prison population and possibly saving the state upwards of $106 million in prison costs within the first five years. According to the Alabama Public Safety and Sentencing Coalition, which is a group of legislators, judges, attorneys and law enforcement personnel, the legislation would prompt the state to adopt new sentencing approaches aimed at keeping nonviolent offenders, including drug users, out of prison and redirecting them into rehabilitation programs. The legislation also would create stricter supervision standards for probationers and parolees. Some projections estimate a drop of 5,000 in the prison population within five years. At least two of these bills have been approved by the state Senate Judiciary Committee, which is handling the legislation. One bill (SB145) would allow people convicted of minor drug offenses to get their driver's license back sooner, in order that they may participate in a rehabilitation program; the other (SB142) would allow probationers to move from supervised probation to less-costly unsupervised probation, provided they complete two-thirds of their sentence without any subsequent offenses. It also establishes certain responsibilities for the Board of Pardons and Paroles in assisting individuals with reentry into the community.
The Arkansas General Assembly passed a measure (SB750) during the 2011 session aimed at reducing prison sentence times for nonviolent offenders, by expanding alternative-sentencing programs as well as the use of drug courts. The legislation also restores 49 probation and parole officer positions in the state Department of Community Correction. While the estimated cost of the reform is approximately $9 million, some projections place the cost savings for the state at more than $875 million over 10 years.
The Florida Legislature currently is considering a bill (HB917) that would create a reentry program for nonviolent offenders, diverting them from long periods of incarceration, by requiring participation on community programs with strict eligibility criteria. The state currently has more than 101,000 inmates and an annual corrections budget of over $2.4 billion. Newly elected Governor Rick Scott also has pledged to reform the state prison system, and has proposed allocating more funds to help inmates fight drug and alcohol abuse, as well as improve mental health services and literacy initiatives. Scott also has proposed moving approximately 2,000 inmates from state-run prisons into privately run facilities, claiming to save as much as $135 million in the first year alone. The state Department of Corrections, under a new director, also is considering releasing 10,000 inmates for good behavior.
The Kentucky Legislature passed a landmark corrects reform bill (HB463) during its 2011 session, which is anticipated to reduce the commonwealth's prison population by revamping sentencing laws for some low-risk and violent offenders. The legislation, which is estimated to save the commonwealth approximately $422 million over the next 10 years, will improve probation and parole supervision, while providing mechanisms for diverting offenders into community programs.
The Louisiana Legislature may consider a bill (HB138) during its upcoming 2011 regular session that would make some elderly inmates (over the age of 60) eligible for parole, as long as they have served 10 years for a nonviolent, non-sex-related crime. According to a 2006 SLC report, the elderly inmate population is one of the fastest growing and most expensive cohorts in prison systems today.
States will continue to seek new and innovative ways to address the deluge of inmates entering and reentering the prison system. Many states are already seeing remarkable results from such reforms, yielding smaller prison populations, lower corrections budgets and inevitably safer communities.
Posted on April 25, 2011 in Energy and Environment
In light of the recent disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in northern Japan, the conversation regarding the immediate future of nuclear power in the United States and the world is at the forefront of recent energy discussions. In addition to ongoing concerns regarding the lack of any long-term, permanent storage for spent nuclear fuel, more scrutiny from all sectors regarding safety is now being focused on reactors and plants. Germany has shut down all reactors built before 1980. Singapore and Switzerland have halted approval for future plants. China, perhaps the world's most ambitious nuclear energy producer, recently announced that it will suspend nuclear power plant development until a comprehensive review of its current plants and those under construction can be carried out. Ban Ki-moon, the current Secretary-General of the United Nations, recently called on world governments to strengthen nuclear safety standards, including protections against terrorist attacks.
According to information compiled by U.S. Energy Information Administration, Japan relies more on nuclear power than any other energy source in order to meet its electricity demands. In fact, 27 percent of electricity generation in the country comes from nuclear power. This is the case for many countries in Asia, where nuclear energy is a viable source of electricity for meeting increased energy demands associated with rising populations and thriving economies. However, Asia is the world's most seismically volatile region. Some experts worry that other Asian nuclear plants may be in danger as well, particularly four in southern China and one in southern Taiwan, all of which lie close enough to a major fault that is known to be responsible for some of the strongest earthquakes in history. Researchers are attempting to assess where seismic pressure is building throughout the world, including areas in the United States, and what repercussions can be expected. Physicist Tom Cochran, a senior scientist in the nuclear program at the National Resources Defense Council, has called for an independent review of U.S. nuclear safety. He has pointed out that approximately 30 percent of the nation's core containment units are similar to those at Fukushima, and may be susceptible to similar disasters. In addition, some nuclear power plants (e.g., Diablo Canyon Power Plant, in California) may be at risk of analogous natural disasters. Also, comparable evacuation concerns exist for some plants (e.g., Indian Point Energy Center, in New York, which has approximately 17 million people living within a 50 mile radius) as in Japan, in the event of an unforeseen catastrophe. Even plants that are not in imminent danger from earthquakes may be susceptible to other threats associated with tsunamis, especially since most nuclear power plants are located near seashores, rivers or lakes, in order to access their waters for cooling. This was the case in Fukushima, where water from the tsunami impaired backup generators needed for cooling.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), there currently are 104 reactors at 65 nuclear power plants operating in 31 states, and according to the March edition of Monthly Energy Review, nuclear power still accounts for approximately 20 percent of all U.S. electricity generation, an increase from less than 5 percent 30 years ago. Largely in response to incentives provided by the Energy Policy of Act of 2005, the EIA anticipates nuclear output to continue to increase, but at a slightly lower rate than total U.S. electricity generation. By 2035, the percentage of power generated from nuclear power is expected to decrease to about 17 percent, down from the current 20 percent today. The EIA points out that this is due partly to greater reliance on renewable energy, as well as the likelihood of expanding natural gas-fired power plants, which are cheaper to build than nuclear power plants, and are even becoming competitive with the cost of operating coal-fired power plants (which gradually are becoming more expensive to operate, due to greater emissions regulations). However, according to the same report, overall electricity generating capacity for nuclear power plants is projected to increase by 10 percent, from approximately 79 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) today, to about 879 billion kWh in 2035.
The first nuclear power plant was built in the 1950s in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. After twenty-something years of operation, the 1979 partial meltdown at Three Mile Island and the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 did a great deal to diminish public confidence in nuclear power. Following the events, construction proceeded on reactors that had already been approved (the last of which came online in 1996), but since that time, industry has relied on alternative means to increasing nuclear power output. This increase is at least partly attributable to practices like "uprating," whereby a plant uses more potent fuel rods or highly enriched uranium in the reactor core to generate more heat, thereby creating more steam, which turns the turbines that create electricity. The exercise has become increasingly popular since 1998, when it was first approved by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which has expressed some concern over the practice. Uprating can yield up to 20 percent greater electricity output, and has led to additional electricity output that is the equivalent of five average-sized reactors since the last nuclear power plant came online in 1996. Additionally, regulators say that they expect extra electricity from uprating that totals the equivalent of three-and-half more reactors in the next four years. However, since more neutrons are bombarding the nuclear core during uprating, more stress is placed on its steel shell, therefore creating higher temperatures in the core, which makes it more volatile. It also requires a longer time to cool down, which can be problematic in the event of a shutdown like the one at Fukushima. Additionally, since water and steam are flowing at higher temperatures, corrosion in valves and pipes can be more common. Industries often must replace turbines and other major equipment on a more frequent basis, which ostensibly negates any additional risks. As long as these and other supplementary, mandatory safeguards are in place, such as various plant modifications and more frequent inspections, many groups such as the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, which advises the NRC on these matters, have endorsed the practice. The Committee has stated that properly upgraded reactors are at no greater risk than ones operating at normal capacity. In fact, the upgrading processes a plant must undergo in order to begin uprating are quite arduous. Currently, a plant in Alabama, which has plans to boost power by more than 14 percent, is awaiting approval by the NRC.
These potentially riskier generating practices will most certainly be the primary focus of this renewed interest in nuclear safety, and many states are pulling back from efforts to expand nuclear power. In North Carolina, Robert Gruber, the executive director of public staff at the state Utilities Commission, expressed his concern regarding the nuclear crisis, stating that his recommendation for the state is to wait for federal regulators to establish new safety rules based on what is learned from the crippled reactors at Fukushima. There was much anticipation that legislation would be introduced in North Carolina this year to ease the process for utilities that wished to charge customers for the expansion of nuclear power (currently, utilities have this ability, but only after a rate hearing; this bill would have eliminated that requirement). However, as in many other states, this legislation has been tabled for the time being. Several other states have pulled back from the idea of allowing utilities to charge ratepayers for future power generated from nuclear power, in order to expand existing facilities or build new ones, a move several Southern states (e.g., Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina) have made in the last few sessions. Legislation (SB48) in Missouri, a state that currently gets 80 percent of its energy from coal, would allow utilities to do just that, although customers would not be charged until an early site permit had been received and reviewed by state utility regulators. Both this measure and a companion bill in the state House of Representatives currently are stalled. A bill (SB200) filed in the Florida Legislature would actually repeal a provision for utilities to charge customers for advanced cost of siting, designing, licensing and building new nuclear power plants, or upgrading existing power plants, which went into effect in 2006. It is being considered during the current legislative session. The Arkansas General Assembly did not act this year on a bill (SB932) to create a task force on recruiting and hosting additional nuclear facilities in the state. A bill (HB1573) in Oklahoma, one of three SLC states without a nuclear power plant, would allow for the development of nuclear power facilities in the state. It is being considered during the current legislative session. Kentucky, another state without a nuclear reactor, considered a bill (SB34) this year, which passed the Senate but failed in the House of Representatives, that would have given the state Public Service Commission the authority to implement plans for nuclear waste storage.
Although the percentage of power from nuclear plants may slightly decline in the next few decades, nuclear power will continue to play an important role in America's energy future. There likely will be greater rigidity with which states and the federal government assess the safety of nuclear power plants, and a continued interest in expanding nuclear power potential within most SLC states. Just this week, both the NRC and the Army Corps of Engineers issued an environmental impact statement regarding a proposed expansion at a nuclear plant in South Carolina, concluding that the environmental impacts of the plant were negligible and affirming the continuance of the project, which could see a final license issued by the NRC as early as next year.
Posted on April 25, 2011 in Education
There have been signs that the teacher supply system has been broken for years. Every year, schools of education produce thousands of graduates who enter the profession only to leave it after only a few years. Teacher turnover created such significant shortages that states have embraced alternative paths to teacher certification as a means to fill shortage areas and support schools struggling to fill teaching positions.
The recent economic downturn has changed this dynamic at a critical moment in the teaching profession. Alternative pathways for teachers are maturing into a viable alternative to traditional schools of education. Teach for America, the largest and most visible of these alternative programs, had more than 8,000 teachers in the field in the 2010-2011 school year. Across the country, alternative programs have been seen as a complement to traditional programs to prepare teachers for hard-to-find specialties (science, technology and math, in particular) and hard-to-staff schools.
This year, however, teachers are facing a very tough job market. This is not a surprise. Teaching is highly responsive to ups and downs in the economy, and its reputation as a "safe" profession with health and pension benefits attracted a number of individuals during the last recession. In the economic upswings that followed the two most recent recessions, teaching shortages returned shortly after the economy improved, due to increased attrition of in-service teachers and diminished intake of new teacher candidates as college students chose other professions over teaching.
This has happened at a juncture when several states have taken steps to eliminate teacher tenure, including Florida and Tennessee, a move that could create more openings in the field, but may also have the effect of discouraging entrants. At the same time, decreased budgets have lead to increased classroom sizes and limited educational technology and other instructional aids, which affects the manner in which instruction is conducted. These changes cumulatively make teaching more difficult, more complex, more demanding, and potentially less attractive to new entrants and experienced staff alike. Concern over the impact this situation might have has been voiced within the region and outside it.
They also are taking place at a juncture when teacher performance has entered center stage in the education reform debate. The push to measure teacher performance is on in a great number of states, with both rewards and sanctions depending upon how teachers measure up. As has been noted elsewhere, crafting a system that adequately measures teacher quality is not a simple matter. Improving the corps of teachers in the field is recognized as an imperative for improving student achievement and outcomes.
In the end, the demands on teachers are unlikely to ease, and the need for America to build a globally competitive workforce will only increase the need for highly competent, well-supported teachers. Attracting quality individuals to the field is of critical importance. Programs exist in the states to encourage top students to enter teaching, but in the current budget environment, even these are at risk.
As was noted by the director of the Programme for International Student Assessment, teaching is a high-status profession in countries that perform at the top of international comparisons, hailing from the tops of their classes in schools, and being viewed as professionals by society at large. This comment set off a wide ranging discussion of how (or even whether) to accomplish this.
For states, however, the reality of a fiscal crisis and rising educational pressures represent an opportunity to undertake major changes in education, most particularly with respect to the teaching profession. These changes are not without a degree of uncertainty in their potential outcomes, both in terms of student performance and the nature of teaching as a profession, but they will set the stage for future discussions of how American education can meet the challenges of the coming recovery.
Click here to view this week's SLC's Education Notes featuring news articles from across the region.
Posted on April 4, 2011 in Education
School choice has been at the center of the discussion of education reform across the region for several years. Charter schools received a prominent boost from the Obama administration during the Race to the Top process, where the selection scoring criteria afforded more potential points for support for charter schools than any other single category with the exception of securing local support. This policy preference effectively shut out the 10 states without charter laws (including Alabama, Kentucky and West Virginia) from the $4.35 billion fund.
Across the region, several states have been reviewing their charter school legislation this legislative session. The Arkansas Legislature approved legislation to essentially eliminate the state's current 24-school cap on charter schools by raising the limit by five schools whenever the number of open-enrollment charter schools in the state is within two slots of reaching that cap. North Carolina Senate has approved legislation (currently in the House) that would eliminate that state's 100-school cap on charter schools as well as make changes to the selection board and expands the amount of public funding available to them. Similar legislative action in Tennessee would eliminate that state's 90-school cap and provides for open enrollment within the charter's district. Florida's Senate Bill 1546 allows for more charter schools to be established by universities (the state already has 450 charter schools serving 150,000 students, but for every student enrolled, two are turned away), and creates a "high performing charter school" designation which releases the schools from certain regulatory requirements and increases the hurdles for local school systems to deny charter applications for schools promoted by such charter school systems. Legislation in Texas would give charter schools access to construction funds and incrementally lift the state's current 215-school cap.
Charter schools were in the news for other reasons this week as well. A report issued by researchers at Western Michigan University and the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education raised concerns about the sustainability and portability of the much-touted success of the nation's largest charter operator, the Knowledge is Power Program, or KIPP, Schools. Specifically, the report found that, while charter schools may not receive as much public money per pupil as traditional schools (due to charters generally not serving special needs populations as traditional public schools do), the KIPP schools' ability to access private resources more than makes up the difference, resulting in, according to the authors, a $6,500 per pupil funding advantage for the private charter operator. Moreover, the report notes that KIPP experiences a high attrition rate among its participants, with students departing their schools (which most often serve grades 5-8) for traditional public schools at a rate of perhaps as much as 15 percent each year. The report does not dispute the program's general effectiveness, which has been shown to have had genuinely impressive results, particularly with improving educational outcomes for low-income and minority pupils. The authors question, however, the replicability of the KIPP model to traditional schools because of the selectivity of entry and exit and financial advantages the schools offer. KIPP, for its part, disputes the reports' findings, citing shortcomings in the methodology of the report.
The charter school movement in the United States has matured in recent years into an established component of the educational landscape, if unevenly so. What this means for charter schools is a shift from conventional advocacy to a review of effectiveness and transferability that was central to the argument for promoting innovation and experimentation in schools when these models first were advanced. The idea that competition would spur improvements at traditional schools and that the innovative lessons learned through charters would inform improved educational policy and practice across the system has been a chief feature of charter school advocacy. To date, only a handful of research provides particularly rigorous comparison of school performance, including a 2009 report by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (the principal author of which will be on a panel at the SLC Annual Meeting this summer). That 16-state report found that 17 percent of charter schools outperformed similar traditional schools in terms of student achievement, nearly half performed on par with traditional schools, and 37 percent performed worse.
As far as charter school innovations working their way into traditional schools, it is difficult to assess the degree to which competition is spurring innovation. For practical purposes, no research exists on the subject. In part, this is due to timing. Charter schools have reached the critical mass to provide differentiated information on successful strategies in the midst of a catastrophic economic crisis, diminishing the resources available to catalog, disseminate, and adopt innovations. Moreover, there remains an suspcion between traditional and charter schools that has proven exceedingly difficult to bridge. Overcoming these barriers would seem to be necessary, however, if the benefits of these schools are to be transferred to the 97 percent of public school students still enrolled in traditional schools.
Posted on April 1, 2011 in Government Operations
With legislatively mandated review of 77 states entities on a four-year rotating schedule, Alabama is one of the Southern states with the most thorough sunset review process.
In 1977, Arkansas adopted a sunset law to control and manage the proliferation of state boards and commissions. In 1983, led by then Governor Clinton and backed by both houses of the General Assembly, the state allowed its sunset law on boards and commissions to elapse.
The 2006 Legislature enacted the Florida Government Accountability Act that established an agency sunset review process to be used by the Legislature to determine if a public need exists for the continuation of a state agency, its advisory committees, or its programs.
The Florida Government Accountability Act provided for the creation of the Joint Sunset Committee to oversee the independent review process and make recommendations to abolish, continue, or reorganize the agency under review. The act also provides that the Senate and House may conduct independent reviews regarding the scheduled agency sunsets.
The Florida Government Accountability Act requires reports and assistance from state agencies and the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA), creates a schedule to abolish state agencies and advisory committees, and sets criteria to be used in the sunset review process.
A reviewed agency may not be abolished unless all of the services for which the agency had responsibility have been repealed, revised, or reassigned; and adequate provisions have been made for all duties and obligations relating to debt.
The Joint Legislative Sunset Committee was not funded in the FY 2010-11 General Appropriations Act, and the Committee ceased operations on June 30, 2010.
(click here for further details regarding past operations of the Florida Joint Sunset Committee)
There are bills in the 2011 legislative session to create a "Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee" but, currently, no such entity exists in Georgia.
Source: SLC research
Sunset provisions are added to certain entities created by legislation, but the commonwealth has no permanent sunset review committee or process.
Source: SLC research
House and Senate committees have the power to sunset agencies within their subject matter jurisdiction, but no official sunset review committee or process exists.
Source: SLC research
The state's Sunset Act was terminated on December 31, 1984.
Source: CSG Book of the States
The Committee on Legislative Research, Oversight Division, is an agency of the Missouri General Assembly as established in Chapter 23 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri. The programs and activities of the State of Missouri cost approximately $23.7 billion annually.
Each year the General Assembly enacts laws which add to, delete or change these programs. To meet the demands for more responsive and cost effective state government, legislators need to receive information regarding the status of the programs which they have created and the expenditure of funds which they have authorized. The work of the Oversight Division provides the General Assembly with a means to evaluate state agencies and state programs.
The Committee on Legislative Research is a permanent joint committee of the Missouri General Assembly comprised of the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and nine other members of the Senate and the chairman of the House Budget Committee and nine other members of the House of Representatives. The Senate members are appointed by the President Pro Tem of the Senate and the House members are appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. No more than six members from the House and six members from the Senate may be of the same political party.
The Joint Committee on Legislative Research is required to conduct a performance evaluation of the state entities to determine and evaluate program performance in accordance with program objectives, responsibilities, and duties as set forth by statute or regulation.
The report includes Oversight's comments on (1) the sunset, continuation, or reorganization of the program, and on the need for the performance of the functions of the program; (2) the duplication of program functions; (3) the appropriation levels for each program for which sunset or reorganization is recommended; and (4) drafts of legislation necessary to carry out the committee's recommendations pursuant to (1) and (2) above.
(click here for more information regarding the Joint Committee on Legislative Research and its sunset powers)
North Carolina's sunset law terminated on July 30, 1981.
Source: CSG Book of the States
Oklahoma law establishes the sunset of seven to eighteen state entities every year unless they are "re-created" by the Legislature. The House and the Senate both have sunset review committees that are charged with determining whether or not to continue the operations of the state entities under review. The State Auditor and Inspector is required to provide any information requested by a sunset review committee regarding a state entity, and the committees have the power to terminate any entity prior to the date created by the legislation establishing a schedule.
(click here for further details regarding Oklahoma sunset law)
The state's sunset law was repealed in 1998.
Source: CSG Book of the States
Tennessee's sunset law (Section 4-29-101 et seq.) requires that each agency, board, commission and other entity be reviewed at least once every eight years by the legislative Joint Government Operations Committee.
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.
(see Texas sunset guide for further details regarding the state's sunset review process)
Sunset provisions are added to certain entities created by legislation, especially new advisory boards or commission in the executive branch, but the commonwealth has no permanent sunset review committee or process.
Source: CSG Book of the States
Since 1994, the Performance Evaluation and Research Division (PERD) has operated in accordance with the WV Sunset Legislation - Chapter 4, Article 10 of the WV Code. PERD conducts performance evaluations of state agencies, boards, and commissions for the Joint Committee on Government Operations. Also, the Division conducts research on special topics as requested by the Legislature or mandated by separate legislation.
(click here for West Virginia's sunset law)