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Legislature approves county hotel tax; lets WGH change election policy

A bill to allow Wilbarger County to adopt a Hotel Occupancy Tax looks to be close to becoming state law, after escaping a concerted effort from House Democrats to stop it.
Representative Drew Springer’s House Bill 2959 was filed in March. During a hearing on April 10 Rick Hardcastle spoke before the committee on behalf of the bill, wile Joe Rogers spoke against it. The bill then passed out of the Ways and Means committee on a 10-0 vote and was placed on the calendar; however, five Democrat state representatives Chris Turner, Eddie Rodriguez, Celia Israel, Cesar Blanco, and Joe Moody objected and it was sent back to committee on May 10 and the bill looked dead.
Unable to get the bill through the House, Springer reached an agreement with a Democratic senator to attach the Wilbarger County language to Senate Bill 2137. That bill, by Democratic Senator Juan Hinojosa, related to enacting a hotel tax for Edinburg to build infrastructure. The bill with amendment passed 29 to 2. Voting against it was State Senator Charles Perry, who also represents Wilbarger County. The bill is on the way to the Governor’s desk.
The amendment allows the Wilbarger County Commissioners Court to enact a tax, that “may not exceed 2 percent on the price paid on a room in a hotel.”
Another bill from Representative Springer HB288, has been passed and is also awaiting the governor’s signature.
Current law requires potential candidates for the Wilbarger County Hospital Board to gather 100 signatures in order to have their name printed on the election ballot. This bill gets rid of this requirement, thereby helping reduce barriers for those who are interested in running for a position on the hospital board.

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