AUSTIN Fort Worth-backed legislation to expand the region’s film industry has won a second chance at a vote on the Texas House floor after being sidelined in a parliamentary move by Rep. Tony Tinderholt of Arlington.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Craig Goldman of Fort Worth, is scheduled for a vote in a rare Saturday session as the 88th Legislature heads into its final three-plus weeks before adjourning May 29. Tinderholt derailed it on a point of order on Wednesday as Goldman initially tried to bring it up for a vote.
Goldman, the House Republican Caucus chair, then scrambled against looming deadlines to resurrect it, winning quick approval by two committees to return House Bill 4419 to a vote of the 150-member House.
If the measure wins preliminary passage on Saturday, it will require a second vote for final House passage on Monday to send the measure to the Senate.
Goldman said he’s confident of passage, but is nevertheless braced for another parliamentary move by his Tarrant County colleague.
“Well I certainly hope the body has the opportunity to vote on it tomorrow [Saturday],” Goldman said in a text Friday. “I’m sure Mr. Tinderholt will try and kill it again, which means all he is doing is killing the potential of high paying jobs coming to Texas.”
Tinderholt did not immediately reply to texts on Friday seeking comment on the latest development.
He previously said on Twitter that the bill wrongly gives “taxpayer dollars to yet another film and television subsidies fund” and supports a film industry that “hates our values and everything we stand for.”
HB 4419 creates two state funds to support the film industry, modeled after the state’s Major Events Trusts Fund that has been used to land big ticket events such as major conventions and international sports competitions.
The bill also would create a virtual film production institute at Texas A&M University and Texas State University for students interested in pursuing careers in virtual production. A branch of the institute could ultimately be located at the $350 million A&M campus planned for downtown Fort Worth, according to a top A&M Systems official.
Another major goal for film industry proponents is to raise the amount of state-funded rebates to encourage film industry production in Texas, from the current $45 million to as much as $200 million. The incentives are part of deliberations now underway as lawmakers try to hammer out a final state budget for the 2024-25 biennium, but House and Senate negotiators are reportedly far apart in trying to settle on the amount for film rebates.
Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker has designated the film initiatives as a major legislative priority for Fort Worth as film and television production continues to become a growing element of the Fort Worth economy.
Hundreds of projects have produced an economic impact of more than a half-billion and 18,000 jobs, according to the Fort Worth Film Commission.