Dallas Metro News, a Dallas news outlet, reported today that Representative Tony Tinderholt of Arlington has stalled the progress of a key initiative for the city of Fort Worth by employing a parliamentary maneuver that obstructs the growth of the film production industry in Texas and Fort Worth.. House Republican Chair Craig Goldman of Fort Worth, the bill’s sponsor, has expressed strong disapproval of his fellow Tarrant County Republican’s actions and is working diligently to revive House Bill 4419 before the legislative session concludes on May 29.
Goldman expressed his frustration, stating that Tinderholt is not representing his constituents or the broader population of Texas, but instead acting on his own behalf. He emphasized the disappointment felt by those in Fort Worth and Tarrant County who have put in considerable effort to pass the bill. Goldman and Tinderholt engaged in a heated debate on the House floor on May 3 after Goldman learned that Tinderholt intended to use a point of order to block consideration of HB 4419. The bill was ultimately struck down on a point of order when House parliamentarians ruled in favor of Tinderholt, claiming that the bill’s analysis was incomplete, according to Goldman. Goldman had requested that Tinderholt vote against the measure if he opposed it but not deny a full House vote by employing a parliamentary tactic.
Tinderholt defended his actions by asserting that the rules permit a point of order and that it is part of the process. He maintained that he respects all his colleagues, their votes, and their actions on behalf of their districts, despite any political differences.
The bill aimed to establish two film trust funds to promote film production and attract film projects to Fort Worth and Texas. Goldman described the bill as a “game-changer” for Fort Worth’s ambitions to expand its growing film industry. Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker, along with renowned actor-filmmaker Taylor Sheridan, identified film industry initiatives as a top priority during a lobbying visit to Austin in early February. Sheridan, who hails from Fort Worth, co-created the hit TV series “Yellowstone” and its two spinoff series, “1883” and “1923,” much of which was filmed in Fort Worth.
The head of a prominent Texas film industry advocacy group expressed disapproval of Tinderholt’s actions, noting that they prevented House members from debating the industry’s significant economic benefits for the state. Paul Jensen, executive director of the Texas Media Production Alliance, called the decision “unfortunate” and emphasized the considerable economic impact of film projects on communities throughout Texas.
HB 4419 proposed the creation of a Film Events Trust Fund and a Film Events Rebate Fund, modeled after the state’s Major Events Trust Fund, which has been used to attract major events like conventions and international sports competitions. The bill also sought to establish a virtual film production institute at Texas A&M University and Texas State University for students pursuing careers in virtual production. The A&M and Texas State campuses at College Station and San Marcos have long-established film programs, but A&M System Vice Chancellor Laylan Copeland mentioned the possibility of locating the film institute at the planned $350 million A&M campus in Downtown Fort Worth.
The next step for Goldman and other supporters is to rush the corrected bill back through the committee process to get a vote by the full 150-member House with one week left before a critical deadline. The 88th Legislature adjourns on May 29. On Thursday, May 11, House Culture, Recreation, and Tourism Committee, which had passed the bill earlier, approved the corrected measure in a regularly scheduled meeting on a vote of 6-0, with three absences. Goldman now hopes to win swift approval by the House Calendars Committee, the clearing-house for advancing bills to the House floor, possibly in time for a rare House session on Saturday. House bills that don’t come up for individual consideration on the House floor by midnight Thursday, May 11, are dead.