August 29, 2018


Proposal to Close Rural DPS Offices Fails

AUSTIN – Representative Ryan Guillen (D- Rural South Texas) said Wednesday that he was delighted that, faced with strong opposition from legislators like himself, the Sunset Commission voted Monday morning to reject the staff recommendation to close 87 Department of Public Safety Drivers’ License offices across the state.


“Penny wise, pound foolish is what this Sunset Commission staff recommendation brings to mind. But quite frankly, the pennies they’d save through this budget proposal for DPS is nothing compared to the hardship it would place on rural families," said Representative Guillen


Guillen was an early critic of the effort to close rural DPS offices that serve the public, highlighting not just the challenges of long drives to handle routine issues like renewing or replacing a license, but also the leadership roles DPS staff play in their rural communities, the loss of time at jobs and the longer lines they would face.


“Rural Texans need to be able to address their licensing needs locally and in person. They should not have to drive hours out of town and then back home again to resolve driver’s license issues,” said Guillen.


Representative Guillen said the vote of eleven Sunset Commissioners today was a clear sign they had listened to rural legislators like him on the issue. He said it is important that all Texans have equal access to state services and that the impact of decisions like these on smaller, more rural, communities must be carefully considered before recommendations like this are made.


With the new legislative session starting in January, and bill filing to begin in November, Guillen said he will be carefully reviewing proposed legislation for similar efforts to cut state agencies’ spending by limiting services to rural or South Texas counties, and he will work to kill them when they turn up.