AUSTIN, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – A portion of the GROW Texas Fund is no long being considered in the 2019 legislative session.
The GROW Texas fund was comprised of two pieces of legislation, House Joint Resolution 82 and House Bill 2154.
HJR 82, authored by Rep. Tom Craddick, would create the GROW Texas fund and ensure that portions of the rainy day fund would be earmarked for the oil and gas producing counties in which the money was generated.
House Bill 2154, filed by Rep. Brooks Landgraf, initially would have established a committee of representatives, appointed by the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor, to allocate money from the GROW Texas Fund to the proper places.
The GROW Texas fund was seemingly on track as both bills moved through their respective committees. However, HB 2154 was amended by Landgraf and called for a task force, allowing several state agencies to appoint a representative who could work with local governments to asses need and determine where the funding would go in relation to transportation, health care and education.
HB 2154 came up for a third reading Friday but was quickly stopped by Craddick who called a point of order saying the original purpose of the bill had been changed and contains more than one subject.
The point of order was sustained, and HB 2154 was halted Friday in the House Chambers.
This ultimately led many to believe that the GROW Texas Fund would be, if nothing else, postponed until the next legislative session was called and a new companion bill was filed and passed to determined where the funds go and who would allocate those funds.
However, Craddick says the GROW Texas fund is in fact not dead and is moving through as expected.
We reached out to Craddick for comment and received a statement which reads:
“We’ve made tremendous progress on moving House Joint Resolution 82, the constitutional amendment that will establish the GROW Texas fund in the state treasury, through the legislature,” Craddick said. “This legislation, recently endorsed by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, will utilize funds already paid by the oil and gas industry to reinvest in communities feeling the stress of energy development, and its impact will be realized across all energy producing regions in Texas. I expect that HJR 82 will be heard in Senate Finance this week and hope it will move quickly through the process for final approval.”
We have reached out to Craddick and Landgraf for additional comment.
As of now, HB 2154 is no longer being considered. Meanwhile, HJR 82 has been referred to the Senate finance committee.