By:  Staples                                           S.B. No. 746
                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 1-1                                   AN ACT
 1-2     relating to an economic development program administered by the
 1-3     Texas Department of Agriculture.
 1-5           SECTION 1.  Chapter 12, Agriculture Code, is amended by
 1-6     adding Section 12.027 to read as follows:
 1-7           Sec. 12.027.  ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM.  (a)  The
 1-8     department shall maintain an economic development program for rural
 1-9     areas in this state.
1-10           (b)  In administering the program, the department shall:
1-11                 (1)  promote economic growth in rural areas;
1-12                 (2)  identify potential opportunities for business in
1-13     rural areas and assist rural communities in maximizing those
1-14     opportunities;
1-15                 (3)  work with rural communities to identify economic
1-16     development needs and direct those communities to persons who can
1-17     address and assist in meeting those needs;
1-18                 (4)  encourage communication between organizations,
1-19     industries, and regions to improve economic and community
1-20     development services to rural areas;
1-21                 (5)  coordinate meetings with public and private
1-22     entities to distribute information beneficial to rural areas;
1-23                 (6)  enter into a memorandum of agreement to work
1-24     cooperatively with the Texas Department of Economic Development,
1-25     the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, and other entities the
 2-1     department deems appropriate to further program objectives; and
 2-2                 (7)  perform any other functions necessary to carry out
 2-3     the program.
 2-4           (c)  The department may employ personnel to carry out the
 2-5     program.
 2-6           SECTION 2.  (a)  This Act takes effect September 1, 2001.
 2-7           (b)  The Department of Agriculture shall adopt rules for the
 2-8     administration of Section 12.027, Agriculture Code, as added by
 2-9     this Act, before December 1, 2001.
2-10           (c)  The Department of Agriculture shall enter into the
2-11     memorandum of agreement required by Subdivision (6), Subsection
2-12     (b), Section 12.027, Agriculture Code, as added by this Act, before
2-13     December 1, 2001.