Major Texas ESOP Initiative Moving Forward
Update: Since we published this article, H.B. 2246 the Senate Calendars committee failed to allocate floor time to this bill, effectively ensuring that it will not be acted on during this session.
The State Afffairs Committee of the Texas House of Representatives has passed H.B. 2246, “An act relating to companies in which employees have ownership interests through employee stock ownership plans.” The bill would:
- Allow professional corporations to be owned by ESOPs, provided that the voting trustees are licensed in that profession.
- Allow certified Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs) to adopt an ESOP without losing their status as an HUB.
- Create contracting preferences at the state, city, council, and special district level for ESOPs.
- Establish an Employee Ownership Assistance Office in the Texas Economic Development and Tourism Office.
The Texas legislature is unusual in that it meets only for a short session once every two years. Many bills with wide support never get anywhere because they never get considered. This bill, sponsored by Republican Hugh Shine, has been shepherded by the persistent efforts of NCEO member Mike Hart of ESOP-owned EEA in Austin.
The bill now moves to Calendar Committee, a crucial step in Texas.
If you are in Texas and want to support the bill, you should contact your state representative and/or the calendar commitee members soon because the timeline is short. Mike has prepared sample email template you can obtain here or by contacting Corey Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org.